In an area of the country with significantly heightened construction scrutiny — just down the road from the site of the disastrous Surfside condo collapse in 2021 — Sunny Isles Beach, Florida’s Estates at Acqualina project is facing another setback four years after breaking ground.
The reported $1.8 billion project — “a luxury high-rise condominium comprised of a South Tower, North Tower, Villa, Beach-Side Amenities, Guest Suites and Cabanas, and Restaurant” according to documentation — is facing a lawsuit from general contractor Suffolk Construction Company Inc. alleging breach of contract and breach of good-faith and fair-dealing against developer A3 Development, LLC alongside three affiliated companies.
According to the lawsuit, the main issue spurring on the dispute is nonpayment, though, notably, the amount of nonpayment is not itself specified in the complaint.
Suffolk Construction notes that it signed on to the job as general contractor in July 2020, making it initially responsible for the construction of the project’s “South Tower, Villa, Beach-Side Amenities, Guest Suites and Cabanas, and Restaurant.” A separate agreement signed on the same date tied the company to the construction of the property’s North Tower.
Recent news claimed that the South Tower was on track to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, with the North Tower to follow in the second quarter of 2022. However, construction has hit a hitch that throws the development of the project into doubt, as official statements have yet to clarify whether the dispute has changed these schedules.
Suffolk Construction is claiming that the agreements focused on both the South Tower and the North Tower were breached by A3 Development. As per the complaint, A3 Development “[interfered] with [Suffolk Construction’s] performance of the contract work, which interference impacted and delayed [its] performance causing [it] to incur additional costs.”
Notably, this isn’t the first time that A3 Development has run into problems with payment on the Estates at Acqualina project, either.
Breaking ground in May 2018, the development was originally intended to be finished in 2020, with announcements in 2016 advertising the involvement of late fashion and interior designer Karl Lagerfeld and the Trump Group.
However, payment problems held that initial date back — and actually resulted in Suffolk Construction replacing the project’s original general contractor. In October 2020, former project general contractor Coastal Construction of South Florida, Inc. filed three unpaid work claims with the Miami-Dade County clerk’s office, alleging $1.9 million in nonpayment.