Construction is still at a standstill at the world's tallest modular tower. Developer Forest City Ratner filed a second lawsuit late last week against its partner Skanska USA over Skanska's decision to halt work and shutter the factory for B2, the modular tower of the Atlantic Yards (aka Pacific Park) megaproject. This complaint, filed by FCRC Modular, an LLC created by Forest City specifically for this project, alleges that Skanska Modular and its president Richard Kennedy were in breach of contract when they decided to furlough the factory workers and stop construction. The complaint says that any stoppage must first be approved by the company's board of directors, and asks the court for an injunction that would reopen the factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard where the mods for the tower are being constructed. Forest City Ratner is also seeking damages in an amount to be determined by the court.
Skanska believes this suit will be thrown out, and Kennedy issued a statement saying, "If they really did care about the workers, they would have engaged in dialogue with us and resolved the significant commercial and design issues facing the B2 Project." Crain's notes that Skanska believes Forest City "abandoned" its commitment to modular when they announced that the next phase of buildings would use traditional construction methods. Forest City CEO and President MaryAnne Gilmartin has said that they hope to use modular again, but "it's an ongoing experiment" that "needs to be validated with a standing building."
Last week, Skanska and Forest City both filed lawsuits against each other in response to Skanska's decision to completely stop work at the factory. The dispute centers around cost overruns, and the complaints reveal that the conflict has been simmering for months. Skanska says that Forest City is to blame because the designs are faulty and there are technological problems, but Forest City says it's Skanska's fault for mismanaging the factory and lacking the skills and experience to complete the project.
B2 was originally supposed to be complete by the end of the this year, but only 10 floors of the 32-story tower are in place. This April, the completion date was pushed back to late 2015, but this legal battle undoubtedly has delayed it further.
One thing is for sure: whenever the factory does reopen, that's going to be a pretty awkward work environment.
· Modular madness grinds on in Brooklyn [Crain's]
· Forest City Sues Skanska Over Atlantic Yards Tower B2 [Curbed]
· Forest City Wants to Take Over Atlantic Yards B2 Construction [Curbed]
· Forest City Ratner files another suit against Skanska USA [TRD]
· Atlantic Yards Tower B2 coverage [Curbed]