With the COVID-19 pandemic still causing fallout in the construction industry, recent filings show that companies in Florida are significantly struggling to maintain prompt payment on significant projects.
Even with major corporations involved in construction, disputes are still occurring — and, with larger projects, larger liens have followed, leaving millions of dollars in dispute between project owners and contractors in Florida.
Learn more about Florida mechanics liens with Florida Mechanics Lien Laws: Rules & Requirements for Construction.
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Production Facility
Jedson Engineering, Inc. and Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC: $1,846,991.43
After furnishing labor, services, and materials towards manufacturing and infrastructure upgrades at Coca-Cola Beverages Florida’s Broward County, Florida production facility, Jedson Engineering, Inc. filed a lien against Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC on May 19, 2021, claiming $1,846,991.43 in unpaid construction work.
According to the lien filing, the project’s total value came to $49,703,429 after work progressed from June 1, 2017, to March 4, 2021.
Jedson Engineering is a Cincinnati, Ohio-based company that provides “engineering solutions to the Consumer Products, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Food & Beverage, and Pulp & Paper Industries.” The company markets itself as focusing on “EPCm”: engineering, procurement, and construction management.
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida’s Broward County production facility produces close to 23 million cases of Coca-Cola products per year, as its site claims.
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida is a “family-owned, independent Coca-Cola bottler.” According to the company, their “exclusive territory covers over 20 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa.”
The company manufactures, sells, and distributes “over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies” as the “third-largest privately held, and the sixth-largest independent, bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States.”
Even beverage giants like the Coca-Cola Company are struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic. Despite this widespread appeal of the Coca-Cola brand, the Coca-Cola Florida company may be struggling to adjust to the recent changes made to its parent company’s operations. The Coca-Cola Company announced in October 2020 that it would be cutting its product portfolio in half, with the intention to phase out 200 beverage brands by the end of 2020.
Though the move will allow the Coca-Cola Company to focus on the aspects of its brand which are most profitable — with the goal of helping it to “emerge stronger from the pandemic” — the move does put pressure on the operations of manufacturers and bottlers.
“Throughout this year’s crisis, our system has remained focused on its beverages for life strategy. We are accelerating our transformation that was already underway, shaping our company to recover faster than the broader economic recovery,” said James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.
“While many challenges still lie ahead, our progress in the [third quarter of 2020] gives me confidence we are on the right path,” Quincey added.
Epcot Sausalito “Guardians of the Galaxy” Project
Cives Steel Corporation and Barton Malow Company/ Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development: $1,199,906.43
The construction of an exciting new attraction at Florida’s popular Epcot theme park may be in a difficult position, as Cives Steel Corporation filed a significant lien against the project on May 3, 2021.
Cives Steel’s contract with general contractor Barton Malow Company and project owner Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US came to a total of $12,471,463.59 for providing “structural steel and miscellaneous materials” after providing work from February 14, 2018, to February 8, 2020.
However, Cives Steel filed a lien via its Thomasville, Georgia location against the project for what it claims is an unpaid $1,199,906.43, bringing the construction of one of Walt Disney World’s new projects to the forefront of the action.
Cive Steel’s work is on what is being listed as the Sausalito Project at Epcot — a project that is connected to the new Epcot attraction “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.”
The Walt Disney Company filed a permit for the project in April 2021, referring to it at the time as “Project S.” Sausalito serves as the codename for “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.” As fans of the popular comic book and film series have noted, the codename “is a reference to Sausalito cookies, which is, in turn, a reference to [Guardians of the Galaxy main character] Star-Lord’s ship, the Milano.”
An April 8, 2021, virtual press conference featuring Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro provided some small clarity on the project’s timeline, as D’Amaro added that the “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind” attraction could be expected as “coming soon.”
Though the project’s construction has been regarded as slow-moving, the attraction’s exterior was photographed in February, March, and April 2021, documenting significant progress.
Though it’s unknown what the details behind the project’s issues with non-payment are, Cives Steel’s operations may have complicated the situation.
Cives Steel markets itself as “one of the largest and most successful structural steel and plate fabricators in North America,” coupling its large reach with the “ability to transform complex designs into magnificent structures of both lasting beauty and structural integrity.”
However, like many large corporations, 2020 saw major change for the company, as the company closed its Thomasville, Georgia plant in September 2020 — not long after the February 2020 completion of its work for Barton Malow and Walt Disney World.
“It was with great regret that we announced the suspension of all operations at the Cives Steel Southern Division in Thomasville,” Cives Steel Company President Greg Orff said in a statement. “Despite exceptional efforts by our personnel, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operation in Thomasville created an unanticipated and unsustainable situation in what was already a difficult geographic market. These conditions forced us to make the very difficult decision of closing our facility.”
Quantum at Flagler Village
E.S. Windows, LLC and All American Windows and Doors/ Flagler Village Land Trust: $972,844.24
Fort Lauderdale is hoping to welcome a full multi-use destination called the Quantum at Flagler Village to its downtown area during 202 — complete with a hotel, two apartment buildings, and an indoor-outdoor lounge and pool bar.
However, the project has not come without its hiccups. E.S. Windows, LLC’s contract with All American Windows and Doors and property owner Flagler Village Land Trust has led to non-payment on the project’s originally $2,007,340.19 contract value — leaving an alleged unpaid claim of $972,844.24.
E.S. Windows’ May 6, 2021, lien claims that it furnished labor and materials to provide impact windows and doors for the Quantum at Flagler Village Marriott Courtyard Hotel — work which began on June 5, 2019, and is still ongoing according to documentation, despite the hotel recently opening.
According to reports, even though the Marriott Courtyard Hotel is already open, the full retail and dining space at the project is hopefully going to be ready for use during the later months of 2021.
“I believe we will be the heartbeat of Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale,” said Larry Abbo, CEO of Prime Group.
The location is already planning some significant events, making the resolution of the non-payment claim a likely priority.
“I can tell you at the rooftop, we’re going to have some really fantastic programming and we already announced we’re having Diplo as one of our first performers,” Abbo noted. “In Fort Lauderdale, there’s nothing like it quite yet so we’re going to be setting a new standard.”
“We’re here to celebrate the culture that has been built up over decades in this particular area. And we’re here to show it to the guests of this city. That’s our calling,” said Abbo about the project’s cultural prospects.