Construction halted on $62 million River Market apartment project
Despite ongoing litigation with their original contractor, developers for the highly energy efficient Second and Delaware apartment project are pressing forward and plan to restart construction next month.
Jonathan Arnold of Arnold Development Group LLC said he expects the project to be completed in the second quarter of 2020. Construction on the now-$95 million development, which is expected to use 80 percent less energy than average apartment developments, began in 2016 but halted last summer.
“Fortunately because we’ve built the building out of concrete, there’s been no degradation to the structure,” Arnold said.
He appeared before the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority board Thursday morning to ask for a renewed, slightly larger package of industrial revenue bonds necessary to facilitate an approved sales tax exemption on construction materials. With the approval, a new contractor can continue work on the building.
Second and Delaware’s original contractor, Haren & Laughlin Construction Co. Inc., walked away last summer and filed suit over what the company claims were unpaid bills. Haren & Laughlin’s attorney, Scott Long of Long & Robinson LLC, said the company did not get paid and didn’t have the funds to pay its subcontractors.
“It was the first time they have walked off the project in their 85-year history, so it was a decision that they didn’t take lightly,” Long said.
Long said Haren & Laughlin’s litigation against Arnold’s company is in its early stages. Other parties, including subcontractors and insurance providers, had to get involved.
“Even though it’s been on file for quite some time, this is like moving an aircraft carrier,” Long said.
Arnold said he could not comment on the litigation.
Second and Delaware will have 276 apartments and 500 underground parking spaces. Its amenities will include a pool overlooking the Missouri River, a half-acre dog park, a public pocket park and rooftop gardens. Arnold said the gardens are feasible because of the building’s all-concrete construction.
Arnold said the project will be the largest Passive House-certified building in the world.
“I started off as an architect, and I got frustrated seeing developers make what in my mind were short-sighted decisions based solely on what is the first cost, or the construction cost, and ignoring the benefits of energy efficiency and long-lasting construction,” Arnold said.
The building will use less energy because of the thick walls and windows that Arnold said essentially “put a sweater around the building” and reduce the energy needed to heat and cool the building.