Ritz-Carlton South Beach construction project

In April 2020, a Florida restoration and renovation contractor filed a $7.7 million lien on the Ritz-Carlton South Beach Hotel and Resort, seeking payment for work on the massive, multi-year renovation project. 

Ritz-Carlton: The South Beach renovation project and lien claim

The Ritz Carlton location’s floor-to-ceiling refurbishment reimagined nearly all aspects of the hotel, lounge, resort, event space, bar, and restaurant areas of the building, which was originally constructed as the DiLido Hotel in 1953 and designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus.  

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Plaza Construction Group Florida, LLC filed its lien affidavit on April 21 in the hotel’s native Miami-Dade County, Florida. The mechanics lien claim states that Plaza Construction Group commenced working on the project on September 27, 2017, and finished on March 18, 2020 for a total value of $40.8 million plus change orders.

According to their Notice of Commencement filing in June 2019, Plaza performed a variety of work, including elevator repair, paint, decorative metals, concrete repair, paver repair, flooring, landscaping, and glazing. Plaza filed a second Notice of Commencement in June 2018 for roofing services.

As stated in the affidavit, and consistent with Florida’s construction lien laws, the lien is effective for one year. However, Florida allows property owners to take action that can dramatically shorten the lien enforcement deadline to as little as 20 days. Unless they are able to resolve the payment dispute, Plaza Construction Group will need to either file a foreclosure action or release the lien. 

Hospitality industry hit hard by stay-at-home orders

Toward the finalization of its overhauling renovation, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach reopened in January 2020, but was forced to close regular business in late March. This was a requirement under Florida’s Safer-at-Home order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis following the spread of COVID-19. Like many others in the hospitality industry, it missed out on a peak business season, when tourists flock to Miami for spring break and milder weather.  

The unprecedented challenges precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis only heightened the pre-existing risks of construction projects involving businesses dependent on groups of patrons, such as restaurants, live events, resorts, and hotels.