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Builders File Suit After Dismissal

Friday, March 25, 2016

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After being terminated from building the $1.4 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion project in Seattle, the contractors have sued to block officials from hiring another builder, according to various reports.

Joint venture Skanska-Hunt filed its lawsuit March 18, two weeks after news broke that the team had been released from the high-profile project, the Seattle Times reported.

The contractor contends the convention center officials violated the parties’ contract and should “take immediate steps to right this wrong,” the report said.

The Washington State Convention Center Public Facilities District had initially selected Skanska USA and Hunt Construction Group in June 2015 to build the addition. The Puget Sound Business Journal reported the partnership had beat out two other finalist joint ventures made up of Mortenson and PCL, and Lease Crutcher Lewis and Clark Construction Group at the time.

'Not the Right Fit'

However, in mid-March, center officials decided to terminate their relationship with the builders, noting that the Skanska-Hunt partnership was “not the right fit for this project,” according to Curbed.

At the time of termination, the convention center’s project manager, Matt Griffin of Pine Street Group, said the project schedule would not be “materially affected by the change” and that a new contractor selection process would begin again.

Officials also said they would honor all existing subcontractor agreements and retain firms already under contract for the project.

‘Disappointing’ Decision

Skanska-Hunt initially responded to the termination with disappointment, saying the decision was “shocking and tremendously disappointing.”

"We have operated in a professional manner consistent with our corporate values and in the best interest of the Washington State Taxpayers who will ultimately fund this $1.4B project," the firm said in a statement provided to multiple media outlets.

"The services, which we have provided WSCC, are consistent with the manner in which we have delivered similar projects for the cities of San Francisco, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Jose, Seattle and others over the past decade."

A copy of the lawsuit was not immediately available for review Thursday (March 24).

Griffin told The Puget Sound Business Journal that the convention center team was not worried about the lawsuit.

"We've clearly had good counsel as we've taken these steps," he said.

The Project

Designed by LMN Architects, the expansion project will essentially double the current convention center, adding around 250,000 square feet of exhibit space, 120,000 square feet of meeting room space and a ballroom, reports relate.

Current facilities opened in 1988 and are being expanded in order to host larger national conventions, according to officials. Construction on the expansion is set to begin in 2017 and finish in 2020.


Tagged categories: Business matters; Commercial Construction; Contractors; Contracts; Lawsuits; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Partnerships; Project Management; Renovation

Comment from Ronald Ray, (3/25/2016, 8:37 AM)

It is unclear from this article if Skanska-Hunt were under contract as a true CM, CM at risk, GC with a GMP, a hard bid GC, or some other form of contract.

Comment from Jill Speegle, (3/28/2016, 1:42 PM)

Ronald, according to a spokesperson for Skanska USA, Skanska-Hunt was under contract to be the GC/CM. The CM portion is CM at risk. Thank you for reading.

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