An active and unpaid construction work claim worth $2.5 million is the latest dispute in the controversy over One West Palm, originally designed as a multi-purpose, twin-tower complex in West Palm Beach, FL.
In April 2020, when Florida’s rise in COVID-19 cases was shutting down construction projects across the Sunshine State, One West Palm developer Jeff Greene pulled the plug on the construction of the $250 million, 30-story multipurpose complex.
However, the coronavirus was not the reason behind Greene’s decision to halt construction on the project. Instead, a dispute between Greene and Palm Beach city officials over Greene’s request for a zoning change caused the work stoppage that could potentially last for years.
As of September 2020, just five months after the project was shut down, one subcontractor has filed a construction lien against Greene’s already disputed property. The construction lien — which can prevent the property’s sale or refinancing while active — named another subcontractor on the project.
To date, One West Palm’s general contractor, Kast Construction, has not been involved in a mechanics lien filing at the project.
“[The One West Palm] project is a mess right now,” said Kast Construction Project Manager Dan Alessandrini. “All I know is that the project is dead in the water.”
Subcontractors owed $2.5M at One West Palm project
On September 24, 2020, subcontractor Atlantic Steel Construction placed a mechanics lien valued at $2,536,567.24 against the One West Palm towers, located at 550 N. Quadrille Blvd., West Palm Beach, Fla.
According to the lien affidavit, Atlantic Steel Construction’s claim was filed in response to non-payment from subcontractor Baker Concrete Construction, Inc.
Atlantic Steel Construction’s original contract with Baker Concrete Construction was valued at over $17.4 million.
The lien affidavit also states that Atlantic Steel Construction officially left the One West Palm jobsite on June 28, 2020. The subcontractor first serviced the project in April 2019.
Atlantic Steel Construction could not be reached for comment.
One West Palm construction halted amid dispute with city officials
Prior to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in early March 2020, project owner Jeff Greene and his team of property owners at 550 Quadrille, LLC were scheduled to complete 200,000 square feet of office space, 200 hotel rooms, and 325 apartment units at One West Palm.
According to The Palm Beach Post, Greene decided to forgo the office space development at One West Palm in April, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic toll on the demand for office space.
Then, Green proposed a zoning change to Palm Beach city officials that would allow him to turn the proposed office space at One West Palm into additional apartments.
The city denied Greene’s request in September of 2020, and countered with their own offer to Greene: The city would allow Greene to make the zoning changes pursuant to an agreement that would require Greene to submit cash payment to the city for workforce housing expenses.
Greene subsequently declined the City of Palm Beach’s offer, and told the city that he will leave the unfinished project as-is until a deal is made.
“My feeling is there isn’t enough profit to pay anyone anything,” Greene told The Palm Beach Post on September 29, 2020. “Just agree to let me build it if you want to have it on your tax rolls.”
Palm Beach spokeswoman Kathleen Walter explained to The Palm Beach Post in September that the City of Palm Beach would lose $23 million in tax revenue over 50 years if they agree to Greene’s zoning change proposal.
“If Mr. Greene choses to let the building sit vacant, that is his choice,” Walter said.
When the construction of One West Palm ceased in April, contractors were three stories shy of reaching the top floor.