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Since construction began in 2018 on a massive expansion for the Jupiter Medical Center, seven different contractors have filed mechanics lien claims worth a total exceeding $3 million on the project as of March 2019. None of the claims have yet been released.

In 2015, the nonprofit hospital located in Jupiter, Florida kicked off an unprecedented $300 million fundraiser for an expansion that included a five-story patient tower complete with a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU), several surgical beds, and a new entrance and drop-off point into the hospital.

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Construction broke ground on the project after they reached the halfway mark of their fundraiser in 2018, with a budget of $160 million. In late 2019, the first three floors of the new five-story patient center, which contains the 16-bed Level II De George NICU, opened its doors to the public as scheduled.

News of its completion comes as a relief to Jupiter residents, as the next closest NICU is 25-30 minutes away from West Palm Beach.

Jupiter Medical Center named Gilbane Building Company as the general contractor for the renovation of the Anderson Family Center. Additionally, Gilbane is providing construction management services for the five-story facility, which includes a NICU.

7 Subcontractors File Non-Payment Claims

All in all, there are 7 mechanics liens filed on projects for Jupiter Medical Center. The total amount of money reportedly owed to subs is $3,641,521.60.

None of the claims have yet been released. While Florida’s mechanics lien statute does not require mechanics liens be released by the claimant, failure to release a lien claim upon request could result in the assessment of damages.

In recent months, the largest mechanics lien came in from the general contractor on the project, Gilbane Building Company, recorded on July 28th, 2020. Gilbane went unpaid for renovations and additions that included the NICU Project and the five-story, 50,000 square foot patient center.

The GC’s total contract price totaled $27,543,749, a large portion of which has been paid. Gilbane filed a mechanics lien for the amount of $2,637,384, the unpaid balance for labor and materials furnished from September 14, 2018 through July 17, 2020. The lien was served on the owner, Jupiter Medical Center.

Thereafter, more subcontractors began filing their own claims. It is unclear if the claims are related to the property owner’s failure to pay Gilbane. It is not uncommon to see subcontractor claims follow suit after a general contractor files their own claim.

Knight Electric Company, Inc. filed a mechanics lien on May 5, 2020, claiming $506,398.38 for electrical labor, materials, and related services provided to the NICU project starting on November 4th, 2018. The original contract price was $2,336,967.87. Knight Electric was also contracted by Gilbane.

Crawford Tracey Corporation, a subcontractor based in Deerfield Beach, filed a lien for just over $300,000 on May 6th, 2020. Crawford was contracted by Gilbane to furnish and install glass and glazing for the new NICU. The total price of Crawford’s contract was $1,412,579.61.

American Engineering and Development Corporation was hired by Gilbane for a contract price of $534,032.80 for materials and services consisting of sitework. After only receiving a portion of their payment, American filed a mechanics lien on July 7th, 2020 for the unpaid amount of $95,472.46.

Payment disputes stretch back to 2019

These are not the first instances of non-payment claims on the project. The earliest available lien on the project dates back to March 18th, 2019, when subcontractor HJ Foundation, Inc. filed a claim for $41,777.38. The unpaid amount was due for piling and foundation work on the NICU Project.

A fifth subcontractor, Sasso Air Conditioning, filed a $44,000 lien for unpaid HVAC work on May 2, 2019. Sasso was hired by Black Diamond General Contracting to perform HVAC work on a Jupiter Medical Center building in Palm Beach County, Florida. The original contract price was $410,662, and Sasso filed a mechanics lien for the unpaid amount of $43,833.70. Sasso filed their lien on May 2nd, 2019.

On October 11th, 2019, Apollo Beach-based American Builders and Contractors Supply Co., Inc., filed a lien for $14,620.68. The claim was for labor and materials provided for a roofing project along with other external building projects.

COVID-19 forced cuts at Jupiter

The coronavirus pandemic likely contributed to the recent rise in payment disputes on the project.

In the midst of construction, Jupiter Medical Center furloughed 2.7 percent of their 1,883 employees due to reported financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic in April of 2020.

Additionally, the hospital’s senior leadership team agreed to a 20 percent reduction in pay, with a 10 percent reduction in compensation across the entire organization.

In spite of the furloughs and compensation reduction, Jupiter has incorporated a COVID-19 relief fund into their Vision. Innovation. Impact. campaign, a campaign which has raised approximately $210 million towards their goal of $300 million.

The above projects, including the NICU, are just a few of the many projects taking place at Jupiter Medical Center.

Other expansions that are either underway or planned for the future include a $44.2 million, 100,000 ft2  addition undertaken by Haskell design-construction firm and an $80 million surgical institute scheduled for 2023.