Lawsuit alleges $3.2M in unpaid work at Miami Beach Convention Center

National steel manufacturer alleges Clark Construction hasn't paid for materials and labor completed since June 2018

Miami Beach Convention Center
Miami Beach Convention Center

The Miami Beach Convention Center’s renovation project may be over, but one of the nation’s leading steel suppliers is still trying to collect a check for $3.2 million worth of materials and labor.

Lynchburg, Virginia-based Banker Steel sued four insurance companies that provided a $515 million performance bond for the $615 million project.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, alleges that general contractor Clark Construction has failed to pay Banker Steel the $3.2 million for unpaid labor, services and materials that were furnished by June 2018.

According to a Clark spokesperson, the company is still finalizing change orders and other pending payments with the city of Miami Beach to close out the project.

“Clark Construction is in ongoing conversations with the city of Miami Beach regarding the convention center project, including any outstanding issues involving our subcontractors,” the spokesperson said.

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Michelle B. Kane and Brian W. Bennett, the lawyers for Banker Steel, did not respond to email messages requesting comment. Representatives for defendants Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, Federal Insurance Company, Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, and Zurich American Insurance Company declined comment.

According to the lawsuit, Banker Steel and Clark Construction entered into a $42.75 million contract on Dec. 14, 2015, shortly after the general contractor was selected to manage the convention center project.

The new 1.4 million-square-foot convention center site has four new ballrooms ranging from 10,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet, 127,000 square feet of new meeting space, and a 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall. Designed by Fentress Architects, Arquitectonica and West 8, the project’s exterior features about 500 aluminum “fins.”

In November, the project‘s completion date was pushed back to early 2019 due to the challenges of holding events while construction was still underway, according to RE Miami Beach. At the time, crews were still finishing the Sunset Vista Ballroom, four meeting rooms in the convention center’s southwest corner and some of the exterior, including stucco work and painting.

According to a November 12 memo from Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales, the project was on budget with $552 milion or 89.7 percent spent as of that date. The city held onto $18.8 million due to Clark “to assure that it can secure correction of any defective or non-conforming work and complete punch list items currently being documented until final completion of the project,” according to the memo.

“The City is constantly in active discussions with the CM to resolve any issues and achieve completion of the project while allowing events to occur as planned,” Morales wrote. “Mediation has been scheduled for late February 2019 in order to attempt final resolution simultaneous with anticipated close out of the project.”