When Shorenstein Properties purchased 2 MiamiCentral and 3 MiamiCentral in May for $159.4 million, the San Francisco REIT also allegedly inherited millions of dollars in construction debt from the previous owner. Florida East Coast Industries, the parent company of VirginTrains USA, sold the buildings at 600 Northwest First Avenue to Shorenstein.
Last month, Facchina Construction of Florida, the project’s now-defunct general contractor, sued the Shorenstein affiliate that now owns the buildings for nonpayment of $4.3 million in construction work that was allegedly completed in 2016.
According to Facchina’s complaint, Florida East Coast’s then-subsidiary All Aboard Florida refused to pay the bill. Facchina was hired in 2015 to construct the mixed-used buildings that include a total of 595,145 square feet of office, retail, and parking. In 2018, the firm filed a lien for the unpaid amount and is still trying to collect, the lawsuit states.
Spokespersons for Shorenstein and Florida East Coast declined comment. Mariela Malfeld, Facchina’s attorney, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Alex Barthet, a Miami-based construction lawyer not involved in the litigation, said the lien is not extinguished by the sale. But to keep the lien alive, Facchina had to file its lawsuit. “This is the real power of a construction claim of lien and what gives contractors financial security for their work,” Barthet said. “The Facchina liens were filed almost exactly one year ago, so it is likely that this lawsuit was filed to prevent the claims of lien from being extinguished.”
Previously, Miami-based Estate Shell, a subcontractor on the 3 MiamiCentral garage portion, sued Facchina, All Aboard and Balfour Beatty in 2017 over a $3 million dispute, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Miami-Dade Circuit Court records show the lawsuit was stayed and went to arbitration. However, Estate Shell is seeking to overturn the arbitrator’s final judgment according to a motion filed in late July. Facchina went out of business while working on the project.
Since 3 MiamiCentral and 2 MiamiCentral opened last year, the tenant roster includes Viacom, the Confederation of North Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Carlton Fields and Atlantic | Pacific Companies. Shorenstein financed the purchase with a $126 million loan from Wells Fargo. Not included in the purchase: the train station for the high-speed rail service formerly called Brightline and now Virgin Trains USA.