Not in Westchester County?
September 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Rivertowns Square developer sues owner over parking deck changes

The developer of Rivertowns Square in Dobbs Ferry has sued the owner of the retail space for allegedly blocking needed repairs at two parking decks.

Saber Dobbs Ferry LLC, an affiliate of Armonk developer Martin G. Berger, sued an affiliate of Regency Centers Corp. of Jacksonville on Dec. 11 in Westchester Supreme Court for breach of contract.

A section of Rivertowns Square in Dobbs Ferry. File photo by Aleesia Forni

Saber accused Regency Centers of proposing changes to the parking decks that would “endanger the health, safety and welfare of all patrons, employees and others at the site, by potentially causing the structural failure of parking deck B and F.”

Regency Centers did not respond to an email request for comment. But in a September letter to Berger, attached as an exhibit to Saber’s lawsuit, a Regency lawyer states that the reason for the proposed repairs “is the poor condition of the parking decks, which were built by seller (Saber) in the first place.”

Rivertowns Square, a 450,000-square-foot, $130 million development along Saw Mill River Parkway, opened in June 2017. It is arranged in a village-like layout, mixing retailers, restaurants, hotels, a movie theater and rental apartments.

Saber sold all but one of the retail spaces to a Regency affiliate, Rivertowns Square Regency LLC, for $69.2 million, according to a deed recorded in April.

Saber agreed, as part of the deal, to repair the parking decks, and to deposit $1.4 million in an escrow account, as security for “timely completion” of the project.

Saber had to line up a contractor who was acceptable to Regency Centers and its  consultant who prepared the project specifications.

But Regency has refused to approve any of the proposed contractors, Saber states in the complaint, and it is trying to broaden the scope of the project.

For instance, Saber claims, Regency wants to increase the square footage of the areas to be repaired, install a traffic bearing membrane and change the density, quality and depth of the concrete.

The project’s structural engineer, Saber states, had advised Regency that no additional weight could be added to the decks “without risking structural integrity.”

“The parking deck repairs should have been completed by now,” Berger said in an Aug. 30 letter to Regency, “and the unreasonable delay and attempts to modify the scope of the parking deck repairs … has increased the cost and time required” to finish the work.

Berger said he was willing to allow Regency to implement its upgrades but “we are not willing to have it done at Saber’s expense or liability.”

He proposed releasing $615,000 from escrow – based on his contractors’ estimates for the project – and allowing Regency to do the work. Then Regency would release the remaining $784,400 in escrow to Saber.

Regency responded in a Sept. 24 letter that a contractor that Saber recommended for one of the decks is “not sufficiently experienced in such parking deck repair work.”

Regency claimed that it is Saber who has refused to comply with project specifications, by demanding the use of lightweight concrete instead of a high quality mix that would not shrink as much.

Saber’s proposed scope of work, Regency alleges, “will not adequately repair the parking decks, which are in very poor condition.”

Regency declared that it would complete the project itself and it would draw down the escrow fund to pay for the work.

Saber is asking the court to stop Regency from repairing the decks or using any of the escrow funds. The developer is also demanding unspecified damages.

Saber is represented by Manhattan attorney Jeffrey D. Taub.