Hotel Haya under construction - Google Maps

Unpaid contractors have filed three construction lien claims on Hotel Haya, a new luxury development in Tampa, Florida’s Ybor City neighborhood. The lien claims total over $3.5 million in back payments due.

According to the mechanics lien filings, the owner of the property is Ybor District Hotel Holdings, a Delaware limited liability company. Alfonso Architects designed the building, with EWI Construction and Batson-Cook Construction partnering as general contractors. Plans for the project were made public six years ago, and it broke ground in 2018.

Contractors can file construction liens, commonly known as mechanics liens, when left unpaid after providing labor and materials for a construction project. Liens attach to the property title, inhibiting sale or transfer until the contractor is paid.

The developer behind Hotel Haya is the Aparium Hotel Group, a development firm based in Chicago. Hotel Haya carries a price tag of $57 million and will feature 178 rooms, a 4,000 ft2 ballroom, a restaurant, bar, and other amenities. It is reportedly Aparium’s largest project to date.

The construction project fuses two historic downtown Tampa buildings—the Las Novedades Building and the Warren Building.

Four construction liens were filed on the Hotel Haya project as of October of 2019. One of the four has been released, typically an indication that the original dispute was resolved. Each lien was filed in Hillsborough County according to Florida’s mechanics lien requirements.

Batson-Cook Construction, one of two general contractors on the project, filed the highest value mechanics lien on the project. After Ybor District Hotel Holdings contracted them to provide general construction services, Baston-Cook claimed $3.4 million in unpaid bills. The original contract price was $31.5 million.

Two other subcontractors filed liens for smaller amounts. Bay Area Exteriors, hired to install a mock wall in the hotel, filed their claim in November 2019 for the unpaid amount of $3,000.

Synergy Rents claimed just under $3,000 on January 21st, 2020. The rental company was hired by All Fab Metal, Inc. to provide equipment and other related services for the project.

Despite Unpaid Bills and COVID-19 Anxieties, Hotel Haya Is Slated to Open Soon

Hotel Haya is slated to open in a matter of weeks, but with restrictions such as limited restaurant and bar seating capacity and plexiglass dividers. With national tourism taking a plunge, Aparium Hotel Group have focused on a local business model, relying on Tampa area residents to keep the hotel afloat amid the pandemic.

As Aparium co-founder Mario Tricoci states, “Shovel in the ground, we didn’t know we would open to market occupancy in the 30 percent range…that’s not really sustainable for a hotel, but we believe the path is looking forward.”

The Tampa tourism industry has been in a bind, with major events postponed and hotels operating at about 40 percent of normal capacity.