Developer Of Luxury St. Regis Residences Suing Architects For $5M

RYE, NY — A new luxury complex in Rye is involved in a multi-million dollar legal dispute with a Manhattan architecture firm.

Old Post Road Associates (OPRA), a foreign limited liability company based in Harrison, is suing Manhattan-based Perkins Eastman Architects (PEA) for $5 million, according to a summons and complaint filed in Westchester County Supreme Court this month.

The lawsuit accuses the achitects of negligence and professional malpractice as well as breach of contract.

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OPRA III is the owner of the St. Regis Residences development project in Rye. The development is notable as the first St. Regis-branded property to operate without a hotel. The five-building, 330,000-square-foot condominium complex with 92 multi-million dollar luxury homes is located on seven acres of land., with 25,000 square feet of amenities. The property is managed by Marriott International and is reserved for residents 55 and older.

According to a May 2017 agreement between Perkins Eastman and Old Post Road Associates, LLC, cited in the lawsuit, Perkins Eastman agreed to design the project to the standards of Marriott and St. Regis, working with the brand’s oversight staff. PEA was to “perform its services consistent with the professional skill and care ordinarily provided by architects practicing in the same or similar locality under the same or similar circumstances.” The lawsuit contends that it was therefore clear the Perkins Eastman had a”contractual and professional responsibility to design the Project to a high standard of care.”

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The filing said that the developer relied upon Perkin Eastman and its subconsultants’ expertise in designing other high-end complexes in New York State for what was intended to be “premier residential facility.”

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Instead, “PEA’s designs were filled with errors and omissions, resulting in at least 13 bulletins, which are clarifications and changes to the Construction Documents, and the majority of which dealt with clarifications of missing and inadequate scope,” according to court filings.

In addition, the development’s construction manager issued seven plan addendums and around 182 requests for information between Perkins Eastman’s drawings dated January 28, 2018 and drawings dated August 9, 2018, according to court filings. The Construction Manager then issued around 790 more requests for information, lawyers for the developer said.

Despite the seven addendums, 13 bulletins and around 1,000 requests for information, Perkins Eastman “failed to properly revise and incorporate adequate details and clarifications into the drawings and specifications, resulting in significant extra work, as Plaintiff and contractors had to create solutions and self-help designs and specifications on the fly, increasing costs and delaying the Project,” according to the complaint filed in Westchester County Supreme Court.

More than a dozen examples to back up claims that the architect fell short of reasonable expectations were cited in the court filings, including:

The filings also contend that Perkins Eastman failed to coordinate with its consultants, particularly Forest Perkins (interior design consultant), Stantec (mechanical, electrical, plumbing & fire protection) and DeSimone Consulting Engineers (structural consultant).

The developer also claims that there was almost no coordination between the structural steel drawings and the HVAC equipment and ductwork design drawings.

“PEA’s coordination failures led to incorrect and incomplete buyout of the trades, causing cost overruns and delays to the Project,” the developer said in the filings.

Lawyers for the developer contend that the architecture firm’s lack of involvement led to expensive missteps.

“PEA failed to properly staff the Project. PEA’s staff changes led to a reworking of the drawings, causing delays throughout the project, but in particular, during the Construction Administration Phase,” the lawsuit argues. “PEA failed to properly inspect the Construction Manager’s work and failed to notify Plaintiff of Construction Manager’s defective construction, which materially deviated from PEA’s own designs and drawings.”

The developer said that the shortfalls led directly to defects in the building.

“PEA failed to properly inspect the Project and Construction Manager’s work at the Project and failed to notify Plaintiff of defects to Construction Manager’s work, including, but not limited to Construction Manager’s defective work and workmanship with respect to the exterior doors, windows, terraces, floorings, HVAC and roof work,” the lawsuit argues. “As a direct and proximate result of PEA’s failures, negligence, professional malpractice and breach of contract, including but not limited to the aforementioned, the Project was delayed and additional costs and expenses were incurred.”

The developer told the court that bringing the project up to the standards agreed to for the sake of its client was an expensive undertaking.

“Notwithstanding the above failures, Plaintiff incurred tremendous costs and expenses, to correct these issues, in order to deliver a project worthy of the St. Regis and Marriot brands,” the filing concludes.

Perkins Eastman Architects has not responded to a request for comment from Patch.

This isn’t the first legal battle that has stemmed from the luxury development. Court documents listed nine related lawsuits related to the same St. Regis construction project where OPRA III and/or the Hudson Meridian Construction Group were sued by each other or by subcontractors.

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