Former La Quinta CEO sues Sabbia Beach development group over construction delays

Wayne Goldberg alleges the development group misled him on how many units were still unsold at the condo tower

Wayne Goldberg and a rendering of Sabbia Beach
Wayne Goldberg and a rendering of Sabbia Beach

In 2017, the former CEO of La Quinta Holdings plunked down a $1.87 million deposit to buy a penthouse at Sabbia Beach, a luxury condo development under construction in Pompano Beach with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

But two years later, the project at 730 North Ocean Boulevard is still not complete and the former hotel executive, Wayne Goldberg, is suing the development group Fernbrook Florida. He alleges the developer falsely induced him to purchase a condo for $5.35 million. He is now seeking to close on the penthouse and recover compensation for the harm he and his family have suffered.

The complaint filed this week in Broward County Circuit Court alleges that Fernbrook Florida falsely represented that only seven units at Sabbia Beach were still available at the condo development, driving up the sales price.

The developer “held units off the market in order to create the appearance that units were in high-demand and to inflate sales prices,” including the price of the penthouse, according to the complaint.

The suit also alleges that that the construction of all units was supposed to be finished by May 2018. The project, however, is still under construction, despite repeated reassurances it would be finished. When Goldberg visited the penthouse in November 2018 to do an inspection, he “observed multiple severe, material deviations from the agreement and its amendments,” according to the suit.

One of these alleged deviations included that his personal elevators were being installed in the wrong location. Instead of being near the front entry of the unit, it was in front of the “much-vaunted windows of the penthouse overlooking Pompano Beach.”

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Fernbrook Florida is a joint venture between Concord, Ontario-based Fernbrook Homes, led by Danny Salvatore, and Grupo Fernandez. Fernbrook Homes did not immediately return a request for comment.

This week, Fernbrook Florida filed a lawsuit against the contractor, Verdex Construction, alleging that the project is delayed due to faulty work by the construction company. The development group alleges these delays have cost it at least $200,000 a month.

Verdex president Rex Kirby said in a statement, the company is unaware of the lawsuit and “therefore have no ability to comment until we are able to see what the issues are.”

The 19-story, 68-unit tower officially broke ground in May 2016. Condos were initially priced from $1 million to over $5.3 million. The units range in size from 1,850 square feet to 4,900 square feet, or an average of $685 per square foot.

Arquitectonica designed the Pompano Beach tower, which has interiors by Steven G. and tropical landscaping by ArquitectonicaGEO. Amenities include 200 feet of beach, an oceanside heated pool, fitness center, spa, 3,600-square-foot social room and 24-hour valet parking.

Instead of the typical 50 percent deposit required by the vast majority of South Florida pre-construction condos, Sabbia Beach required a 20 percent deposit, then another 15 percent at groundbreaking and the rest at closing.