Short changed? General contractor sues developer of Via Mizner over a $2M charge

Moss & Associates claims it lifted a lien on the project to recover $2M of the $75M contractual price but developer Penn-Florida reneged on a promise to pay
April 27, 2019 03:00PM

101 Via Mizner (Credit: Apartment Ratings)

The general contractor building Via Mizner, a mixed-use development in downtown Boca Raton that includes a Mandarin Oriental hotel, sued the developer over a payment dispute.

Fort Lauderdale-based Moss & Associates claimed in its lawsuit that the developer of Via Mizner has failed to pay $2 million of the $75 million contractual price to construct an apartment complex.

In 2017, Moss completed the 366-unit apartment complex, called 101 Via Mizner, on the northeast corner of Camino Real and Federal Highway in Boca Raton.

It is the first of three buildings that would comprise the $1 billion Via Mizner development, including a 164-room Mandarin Oriental hotel and an 85-unit condominium that bears the Mandarin Oriental brand.

Moss filed its lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against two affiliates of the Boca Raton-based developer of Via Mizner, Penn-Florida Companies.

According to its lawsuit, Moss filed a lien in March 2017 to obtain the $2 million payment, then released the lien after Penn-Florida said the release was necessary to refinance a loan and pay Moss. But the general contractor claims the $2 million remains unpaid.

Penn-Florida announced in October 2017 that it had $400 million in financing for the Via Mizner development, including $318 million from Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies of New York.

Penn-Florida has obtained another $80 million in financing from 278 foreign investors through the federal EB-5 program. The investments came through U.S. Immigrant Fund, an EB-5 regional center headed by Jupiter developer Nicholas Mastroianni, whom 80 Chinese investors sued last year alleging he defrauded them in an EB-5 scam.

In a statement, Moss said after “years of promised payments and missed milestones, we had no choice but to reluctantly filed suite as we view litigation as a last resort … We need to make sure we get paid and are able to pay our subcontractors.” Penn-Florida had no comment on the lawsuit. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth