Faena House condo association sues developer, contractor over alleged construction defects at ultra-luxury tower

Lawsuit alleges problems related to hot water, electrical, paint, flooring, doors and glass

TRD MIAMI /
Sep.September 22, 2020 09:45 AM
Alan Faena, Len Blavatnik, Faena House (Credit: Faena House via Miami Herald)

Alan Faena, Len Blavatnik, Faena House (Credit: Faena House via Miami Herald)

The ultra-luxury Faena House condo, an oceanfront Miami Beach tower that is home to billionaires Ken Griffin, Lloyd Blankfein and others, has a big lawsuit on its hands.

The condo association is suing the developer, general contractor and subcontractors for a laundry list of alleged construction defects at the 17-story building, including a broken elevator in the penthouse, missing art, cracking in the concrete and chalky paint.

The 44-unit Faena House, at 3315 Collins Avenue, has made headlines since it was completed in 2015. Griffin, a hedge fund manager, paid the highest price for his units, two penthouses, for a combined $60 million that year. Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West toured the building, but ultimately decided against purchasing a unit. And recently, a majority of unit owners have banded together to oppose plans for a taller tower next door on the site of the historic Versailles property.

Overall, many of Faena House’s units have sold for more than $5 million.

According to the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last week, the condo association is suing Tower 3315, an LLC managed by Access Industries and Faena Group, its general contractor Coastal Construction, and nearly two dozen other companies, including Foster + Partners, for alleged negligence, breach of implied warranty, injunctive relief, special performance, and violations of Florida’s building code.

A spokesperson for the developer declined to comment, and Coastal Construction said it does not comment on pending litigation. Foster + Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The developer, led by developer Alan Faena and investor Len Blavatnik, turned over control of the condo association in September 2016. The following year, the association was provided with a property condition assessment report and a supplemental report that outline the alleged issues with construction, according to the suit.

Among the issues: stucco cracking, debunking and delamination; cracks in the concrete; roof sloping that has resulted in the ponding of water, creating other damage; issues with plumbing, electrical, the HVAC system, elevators, flooring, pool and spa, paint, doors and glass.

The association alleges that “the hot water recirculation is inadequate in all units with unacceptable wait times.” In the master bedrooms of all C floorplans, the light switches were allegedly not installed in the correct location. The floors are cracking in some places, the marble yellowing, and there are deficiencies in the glass, glazing and balcony railings, the lawsuit alleges. The 13th floor is also mislabeled, according to the suit.

After many closings occurred, the developer removed an art piece that had been used to market the units to prospective buyers, and “to date, Tower 3315 has refused to return the art piece,” according to the lawsuit.

Faena House was marketed as the ultra exclusive luxury condo building in the most recent real estate cycle. In addition to Griffin and Blankfein, unit owners include Goldman Sachs CEO Michael Sherwood, former U.S. ambassador Paul Cejas and Trudy Cejas, and billionaire hedge fund manager Jamie Dinan.

The building is part of the mixed-use Faena District, with two hotels, the Faena Forum, Faena Bazaar and more. Next door, Blavatnik is partnering with developer Vlad Doronin to build an Aman-branded luxury condo and hotel.

It’s not uncommon for condo associations to sue the developer, contractors and subcontractors after the developer hands off control of the association to the unit owners. Last month, the Aria on the Bay condo association filed suit against affiliates of the Melo Group, Arquitectonica and other firms that worked on the 53-story condo tower north of downtown Miami.






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