After officially filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, Midtown Campus Properties, LLC currently owes at least $2M in unpaid construction bills following a luxury student housing project along the campus of the University of Florida. The project was financed through the sale of municipal bonds. As of April 2020, at least nine different contractors have filed claims pursuant to Florida’s mechanics lien laws against the housing complex, which is managed by Roger Development Group (RDG) in Miami, FL.
According to The Gainesville Sun, financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak was cited as one reason Midtown Campus Properties filed for bankruptcy.
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At Least 9 Liens Filed Against Midtown Campus Properties Since April
Sauer Incorporated, the general contracting servicing the 310-unit student housing apartment complex located at 104 NW 17th St. in Gainesville, FL, filed the largest mechanics lien claim against Midtown Campus Properties.
On May 19, 2020, Sauer Incorporated affirmed their mechanics lien with the Alachua County clerk’s office, claiming they are owed $1.2M in unpaid work. Sauer began working on the project on November 21, 2017, according to the lien affidavit.
Subcontractors Johns Creek Remodeling and Jago Drywall and Framing are owed over $200k in combined lien filings against Midtown Campus Properties.
According to an affirmed lien affidavit filed with the Alachua County clerk’s office on February 12, 2020, Jago Drywall and Framing claims they are still owed $104.5k. Johns Creek Remodeling affirmed their lien affidavit on June 15th in Alachua County, claiming they are owed $102k.
On March 27th, prime contractor Capital Steel, Inc. originally filed a mechanics lien with the Alachua County clerk’s office in the amount of $27,627. However, on May 15th, a “Partial Satisfaction and Release of Lien” was filed, stating that Midtown Campus Properties had paid Capital Steel $10k.
To date, Capital Steel is still awaiting their remaining $17,602.90 in completed work.
Developer contests lien claims, files bond notice
Roger Development Group filed a Notice of Bond in response to at least five of the lien claims, informing them of the $32M payment bond underwritten on August 1, 2019 by Federal Insurance Company out of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. If the claim ends up becoming enforced in court, the money will be sent from the surety as opposed to the foreclosure and sale of the project property. Payment bonds for contractors in Florida are regulated by Florida Statute 713.23.
RDG also filed a Notice of Contest of Lien in response to the lien claim by Jago Drywall. In Florida, the property owner or prime contractor may contest the lien, shortening the enforcement deadline to 60 days.
General Contractor Sauer Incorporated Now Faced with Lien Claims
As a result of not being paid by Midtown Campus Properties for their work as a general contractor, Sauer Incorporated now faces at least four mechanics lien claims from four different subcontractors.
In total, Sauer Incorporated owes at least $182.5k, according to the four lien affidavits.
The largest claim against Sauer Incorporated was filed by Roofing & Renovation of Florida, LLC, claiming they are owed $121,235, according to a lien affidavit affirmed on June 5th with the Alachua County clerk’s office.
A legal department spokesman from Sauer Incorporated could not be reached for comment.
Midtown Campus Properties Hit With Bankruptcy
On May 8th, Midtown Campus Properties filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to court documents from Florida’s Southern District. Back in May, The Gainesville Sun reported that the project was 90% complete when the bankruptcy was filed.
Upon completion, the student housing complex is set to be valued at $130M, according to The Gainesville Sun. The news outlet also reported that Midtown Campus Properties secured funding for the project in January of 2019 from Florida Development Finance Corporation, which contributed $78M in bonds.
Rodger Development Group could not be reached for comment.