Miami Beach sues Plaza Construction over faulty A/C system and leaks in new elderly assistance building

Suit, which also names Rene Gonzalez Architects, alleges breach of contract and professional negligence

7251 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
7251 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

After winning a $3 million contract to build a new home for a non-profit senior center in Miami Beach, Plaza Construction Group Florida’s predecessor company installed a defective air conditioning and heating ventilation system that led to a leaky roof and other problems, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

The city of Miami Beach sued KM/Plaza Inc., which is now Plaza Construction, and design firm Rene Gonzalez Architects, in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleging breach of contract and professional negligence against both companies.

A Miami Beach spokeswoman said the city doesn’t comment on pending litigation and Plaza President Brad Meltzer did not return a phone message seeking comment.

According to the suit, the city turned over management of the project to the nonprofit agency UNIDAD of Miami Beach to redevelop the North Beach Senior Center at 7251 Collins Avenue in 2006, when Gonzalez’s firm was retained to design the new building. UNIDAD runs the senior center.

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Four years later, UNIDAD entered into a contract with KM/Plaza for $3 million. The agreement was increased by $637,000 in April 2014 around the same time UNIDAD and KM/Plaza settled a third party lawsuit pertaining to defects to the terrazzo installed in the building, the suit says. In January 2015, UNIDAD and KM/Plaza amended the contract that had called for the demolition of an existing structure, to be replaced it with a two-story building.

When the job was finished, city officials allege that inspections revealed KM/Plaza and Rene Gonzalez Architects provided services that were negligent, deficient and defective, among other problems, the lawsuit states.

Specifically, the city claims KM/Plaza failed to perform because the air conditioning and heating ventilation system failed to properly cool the second floor and that the “defective installation” of the air conditioning system rendered it unable to modulate air properly and unable to control the ventilation in the building. In addition, KM/Plaza installed malfunctioning fans.

As a result, the kitchen experiences excessively high temperatures, air conditioning equipment got corroded and caused multiple leaks resulting in exterior and interior damage to the building, according to the suit.