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While The Independent tower in Austin, Texas has been making headlines as the tallest building in the city, six contractors that helped build the residential skyscraper have allegedly gone unpaid for their work.

Along with general contractor Balfour Beatty, five subcontractors hired to work on the $300-million residential tower in downtown Austin have placed close to $8 million in mechanics lien claims against the property.

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Aside from two claims against the property owner, 3rd & West, LP, five liens were filed against Balfour Beatty.

The Independent, dubbed the “Jenga tower” for its design, has been open for new residents since May of 2019. In the first half of 2020, Austin leads all U.S. cities in confirmed completions of new apartments with just under 4K units as of June.

A mechanics lien is a legal claim used by unpaid contractors to provide them with a security interest in the property until the lien has been removed. All seven unpaid work claims were filed under Texas mechanics lien statutes.

6 Contractors Owed $7.7 Million

The six different contractors are allegedly owed a total of $7,677,356.16 for construction at The Independent, which is located at 301 West Ave, Austin, Texas. The payment disputes on the project date back to at least mid-2019.

The general contractor on the project, Balfour Beatty, filed a constitutional lien on the property on August 12, 2020. The GC claims they are still owed $5,850,455.14 by 3rd & West, LP.

One of Balfour Beatty’s subcontractors, Trio Electric, LLC, has filed three separate liens between July 2019 and August 2020.

The earliest, filed on July 26, 2019, claimed an amount of $698,096.15. One year and four days later they would reduce that claim to $423,139.10 through a partial lien release after reportedly receiving a payment.

On May 15, 2020, Trio Electric filed a second lien for $77,123.56. They followed with a third lien on August 14, 2020 in the amount of $346,014.02. The total amount still owed to Trio totals $846,276.68.

During that time, on February 10, 2020, subcontractor ISEC, Inc. filed a mechanics lien against Balfour Beatty claiming $597,836.30 in unpaid work. ISEC provided shelving, casing, and custom woodwork, and other work to the project.

Balfour Beatty’s payment dispute with another subcontractor, The Porter Company, dates back to at least December 16, 2019, when the subcontractor filed a mechanics lien for $863,783.75. On March 30, 2020, a partial lien release filed by the subcontractor reduced the amount outstanding to $298,099.76.

On May 13, 2020, Building Image Group, Inc. filed a lien claiming $57,697.88. On July 15, 2020, Arrow Mirror & Glass, Inc. filed yet another lien claim in the amount of $26,990.40.

In total, Balfour Beatty still owes just over $1.8 million to subcontractors on the project.

The Independent: a 690-Foot Residential Skyscraper

Scaling 58 stories, Austin’s Independent tower includes 363 luxury condominiums and then some. While the tower totals 950,000 square feet, its amenities make up 20,000 square feet of the building.

In total, the building houses 677 residential units and 40 retail units. Located within the 9th floor of The Independent is an amenities deck, which includes a pool, a dog lounge, a children’s playroom, and a club room.

Similar to the lighting sequences of New York City’s Empire State Building, The Independent tower also includes a digitally controlled LED lighting system atop the tower.