Modular Tower Developer and Contractor Slap Each Other with Lawsuits


Pacific Park Brooklyn
Modular towers slated to rise next to Barclays Center (SHoP Architects)

The dispute between Pacific Park Brooklyn developer Forest City Ratner Cos. and contractor Skansksa USA Building escalated to the courts today. The construction firm that’s under contract to build B2, a residential building slated for the area around Barclays Center that used to be known as “Atlantic Yards,” filed a suit against Forest City just 16 minutes before the developer slapped the contractor with its own suit in Manhattan state court.

The contractor alleges “serious commercial and design issues” are plaguing the 363-unit, 32-story residential building that will be constructed from 930 pre-fabricated steel modules, but the complaint filed by Forest City’s lawyers contends that Skansksa should take responsibility for cost overruns and delays that led to a work stoppage and furloughs for 150 workers last week, an argument that the contractor steadfastly denies.

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“Rather than acknowledging their problems, they are slinging mud at Skanska,” Skansksa USA Building co-chief operating officer Richard Kennedy said in a statement. “But slinging mud at Skanska in the press and in legal documents that misstate the actual facts is not going to get the B2 project moving again or put the modular factory workers back to work. Skanska prides itself on its ability to work through challenges in a way that is timely, effective and respects the commercial interests of all parties involved.”

Yet the developer’s wide-ranging 32-page complaint charges the contractor with a lack of skill and experience that caused the project to fall off-kilter and more than a year behind schedule, according to the Forest City complain.

“From the start, Skanska mismanaged the project through gross incompetence, causing it to be riddled with delays and cost overruns,” reads the complaint filed by the developer. “Skanska has stumbled through every step of the project, and has repeatedly and routinely failed to meet any self-imposed or contractual deadlines, goals, or targets. As noted, the construction schedule stipulated that the building would be substantially completed by July 25, 2014. That date has come and gone and, as of today, only 10 floors of the planned 32-stories have been erected at the project site.”

The dispute doesn’t involve any of the three new building starts the developer announced earlier this year on the 22-acre site where Forest City plans 247,000 square feet of retail space, 336,000 square feet of commercial space and 6,430 units of housing or its partner for the Pacific Park Brooklyn project, Chinese investment firm Greenland USA, representatives for Forest City noted.