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Tampa Housing Authority Fires Builder

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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Allegations of “poor project management” and “ridiculous” change orders have led the Tampa Housing Authority to fire the builder in charge of a $25.6 million apartment project, according to a local source.

On Friday (June 17), the housing authority terminated its contract with Siltek Group Inc., a general contractor based in Plantation, FL, over issues at The Tempo at Encore project, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Originally set to open in 2015, the project is said to be 75 percent complete.

Tampa
© iStock.com / Christopher Badzioch

The contractor building an affordable housing mixed-use project near downtown Tampa has been accused of poor project management.

Meanwhile, the builder has reportedly filed a suit against the designers of the building for omitting information in plan documents.

Decision to Part Ways

Authority officials did not immediately respond Monday (June 20) to a D+D News request for further information; however, LeRoy Moore, the chief operating officer of the housing authority, told the Tampa Bay Times that the decision to sever ties with Siltek came after poor project management and mistakes.

"We getting more and more subcontractors claiming they're not getting paid," Moore reportedly told the news bureau.

Moore also claimed that the contractor was submitting “ridiculous” change orders, including one for $300,000 to cover the cost of solar panels that were part of the guaranteed maximum price contract that Siltek signed.

The report says the authority is planning legal action.

Contractor: ‘Seeking the Truth’

Ana Silveira-Sierra, Siltek’s president, told the news outlet that the company is exploring all its legal remedies to make sure the “truth is exposed.” The builder began construction on The Tempo in February 2014.

Founded in 1998, Siltek Group has directed numerous affordable housing and commercial developments, including high-rises, single family homes, townhouses and elderly rental housing in Florida and Texas.

architecture drawings
© iStock.com / mir-a

Siltek is reportedly seeking $1 million in damages against the architectural firm and structural designer of the building.

In August 2015, Siltek’s founder, Rene Sierra, was among a group of Miami-based developers charged in an affordable-housing racket that cost taxpayers $36 million, according to prosecutors. Rene pleaded guilty and faces two to three years in prison for his role in the housing scheme. Prosecutors said he paid about $6.2 million in kickbacks to four Miami-based developers.

The firm did not respond to a request for comment on The Tempo project issue.

Dispute with Designers

Citing records, the Tampa Bay Times says Siltek has an ongoing legal dispute with those involved with The Tempo project.

The firm is reportedly seeking $1 million in damages from those in charge of the building’s design, alleging that the architectural documents were not complete and contained errors. The Tempo was designed by Bessolo Design Group and the structural design was completed by KEM Engineers. Both businesses are based in St. Petersburg, FL.

The Tempo is a public-private partnership project described as a destination mixed-use, multi-family market rate mid-rise building, according to Bessolo’s website.

The 260,000 square-foot facility is to have 203 units, of which 122 are to be subsidized. Tampa Bay Times says more than 9,000 families have applied for the affordable housing.

The musically themed project celebrates the heritage of the neighborhood, where legendary artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday often performed in night clubs in the Central Avenue district known as "Harlem South," according to 83 Degrees Media.

   

Tagged categories: Designers; General contractors; Housing; Lawsuits; Project Management; Public-private partnerships (P3); Subcontractors

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