Contractor insolvency roils One Vanderbilt, Manhattan West
Navillus lost court case over $76M union judgment
UPDATED, Nov. 10, 6:03 p.m.: One of Manhattan’s biggest contractors filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, leaving the Manhattan West and One Vanderbilt projects mired in uncertainty.
For now work at the two sites continues, but the contractor, Navillus Tile, said in the filing that they face “numerous issues” due to union payments owed. On Sept. 22, a judge ordered Navillus to pay $76 million into union funds, which the company claims forced it into bankruptcy.
Navillus, which specializes in concrete and masonry and is led by Donal O’Sullivan, had allegedly set up two non-union, alter-ego companies to avoid these payments, spurring a lawsuit.
In a letter to clients and staff, O’Sullivan said it is “business as usual,” that work will continue uninterrupted and that the firm filed for bankruptcy protection while it appeals the judgement. The general contractor for both projects, AECOM-Tishman, terminated its contract with Navillus but ordered it to keep working. Navillus is currently negotiating a $135 million loan to allow it to continue working on the two job sites.
At One Vanderbilt, SL Green Realty is building a $3.17 billion office tower next to Grand Central Terminal. Manhattan West, developed by Brookfield Property Partners and Qatar Investment Authority, is a $8.6 billion mixed-use development near Penn Station. In September, Amazon signed a lease for 360,000 square feet at 5 Manhattan West. [Bloomberg] — Konrad Putzier