After SeaWorld closed its parks back on March 16, 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, the company has been losing an estimated $2M a day during the shutdown. In response to the predicted losses, SeaWorld froze construction on its parks. Contractors responded swiftly by filing mechanics lien claims against multiple SeaWorld amusement parks for unpaid work on their attractions and facilities.
SeaWorld construction projects during COVID-19
Before COVID-19 interrupted the parks’ ability to operate, SeaWorld had plans for a number of construction projects and additions being built in their parks all over the country. In fact, SeaWorld has been committed to adding over $100M in new experiences to their parks each year. In Orlando in particular, one main construction project involved the additions to the Aquatica Park.
But as the uncertainty around COVID-19 continued to spread, SeaWorld’s financial security took its toll on corporate operations. In April, the company’s CEO Serge Rivera quit – the fourth to leave in 5 years. In spite of their losses, shortly after the CEO’s departure the company secured $227.5M in loans, according to an SEC filing.
Mechanics liens filed on SeaWorld amusement parks
In response to non-payment during the project shutdowns, construction contractors filed liens on projects at SeaWorld amusement parks in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio.
Last month, the Orlando Sentinel reported that at least 3 liens, totaling over $225K, have been filed against Sea World Parks Entertainment Inc. The company filing these liens is The Wilsten Group, Inc. a general contracting company based out of Winter Park, FL.
On June 25, 2020, Bollard & Mabillard Consulting Engineers filed a lien lien worth $1.4 million for “engineering, design and fabrication of a custom Launch Coaster” at SeaWorld in Orlando.
If Sea World decides to contest the validity of these claims they can take steps to drastically reduce this time frame. If they file and serve a Notice of Contest of Lien, the enforcement deadline is shortened to just 60 days from when such notice was filed. They could also file a lawsuit to show cause why the lien shouldn’t be enforced. This option would give the claimants just 20 days to prove and enforce their claims in court.
SeaWorld San Diego
On June 17, 2020, Bolliger & Mabillard filed a lien claim for $3.3 million in unpaid engineering and installation work on the “Dive Machine Coaster” at SeaWorld in San Diego, California. After calculating the 10% annual interest penalty included in the lien filing, SeaWorld already owes Bolliger & Mabillard an additional $27,000 in interest fees alone.
According to a San Diego Tribune article, the general contractor on that coaster construction project, Level 10 Construction, placed a different $3.3 million lien on SeaWorld property for unpaid work. Level 10 was rated one of the best contractors in California in 2019 by Levelset.
SeaWorld San Antonio
Casias Construction, LLC, a Texas-based general contractor, filed multiple liens on SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas totaling more than $1.7 million, including a $25,000 claim for renovation of the “Penguin Trainer’s Restroom.”
They were one of several contractors who filed more than a dozen liens against the property, ranging from $1,900 to more than $100,000.
SeaWorld releases statement of commitment to construction contractors
According to the Orlando Sentinel, SeaWorld released the following statement:
“Our vendors, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors remain extremely important to us and we greatly appreciate their understanding and patience during this unprecedented time. We have communicated to them that during the temporary closures in which 90% of our employees are furloughed, payments may be delayed. We have every intent to fulfill our obligations and will work individually with them to address concerns.”