Work resumes on stalled mini mall 0
Construction activity is expected to pick up dramatically this week on a project that had been mired in a pit of builder?s liens.
Jerol Fleishman, president of Canmore Gateway Shoppes Ltd., said Tuesday (June 24) that work will soon accelerate on the unfinished strip mall project at Bow Valley and Benchlands Trail. Work on the project halted in May after contractors working on the three-building development walked away from the job, citing unpaid bills.
While who?s responsible for those bills remains a source of contention, Fleishman said a new general contractor has been hired for the project, and Canmore Gateway Shoppes Ltd. hopes to see the first of three buildings complete enough so future tenants can start on leasehold improvements by the third week of July.
Fleishman said the hope is to have the development substantially complete as of Sept. 15.
Canmore Gateway Shoppes Ltd. posted irrevocable letters of credit for more than $900,000 earlier this week to try to deal with liens on the project.
As of early Tuesday, there were still builder?s liens of more than $2.3 million filed against the land for the development.
The largest lien on file was from Everest Construction, A Division of M2 Group Inc.
The Calgary-based company?s lien is for $876,492. It was serving as the general contractor on the project, but has since been replaced.
Fleishman said Everest wasn?t paying subcontractors on the project even though, he said, it was being paid by Canmore Gateway Shoppes Ltd.
Michael Simonot, Everest?s president, offered a different point of view. The two companies have sworn widely differing affidavits in the case.
?We?ve terminated our contract for the owner?s failure to pay his invoices and the owner?s failure to sign change notices?the architect walked off the project the week before we walked off the project, so that?s got to tell you something,? Simonot said.
He said Everest hasn?t yet filed a statement of claim to sue the developer, but that it?s an option at this point, depending on what happens.
?We?re being cautious with this owner, and cautious with this particular claim,? he said.
An affidavit filed by Everest says the developer failed to provide 1990 test results relating to subsurface soil conditions on the site prior to calling for tenders.
Fleishman said updated test results from 2002 were provided prior to calling for bids.
?Normally, test results which are, shall we say, 13 years old, are out of date,? Fleishman said.
The affidavit from Everest says Everest crews encountered difficulty with excavation work at the site.
Fleishman said his company wants to shield local contractors from the effects of the dispute.
?It?s safe to say that we?re all going to take some big hits, but we?re trying to protect the subtrades and suppliers from Canmore as much we can,? Fleishman said.
?Our efforts are to ensure Everest doesn?t get anything at all.?
What all this means for unpaid subcontractors remains to be seen, though the posting of irrevocable letters of credit will likely bring some relief to local subcontractors waiting to be paid for their work.
As of Tuesday, five local contractors still had liens against the project, among them, Russell Protective Services, a small company run by Ed Russell.
He wasn?t optimistic about having his lien satisfied when he spoke with the Leader earlier in the month.
Local lawyer John Schneider, who represents Valley Building Materials Ltd., another Canmore business, said the filing of the irrevocable letters of credit should result in liens coming off the property.
He compared the letters of credit to essentially assuring lien filers there would be money to sort out the disagreement.
?Everybody knows that the prize is there at the end of the day,? Schneider said.
Fleishman said his company has acted properly throughout the dispute.
?We believe that we acted completely correctly and completely in accordance with industry standards,? he said, claiming Everest misled Canmore Gateway Shoppes Ltd. as well as the developer?s banker.
Subcontractors will now be paid directly by Canmore Gateway Shoppes Ltd., Fleishman said.