Florida Developer Stuck Contract Dispute With the Tampa Housing Authority
According to reporting from The Ledger, Pinnacle Group Holdings, a Florida real estate development company has brought a breach of contract lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Housing Authority. Last summer, the city’s housing authority cancelled a $7.4 million contract it had with the developer. This occurred after Pinnacle Group Holdings had already put a considerable amount of money into the project. The development firm now claims that the city had no valid grounds to terminate the contract.
Understanding the Lawsuit
Tampa has long been seeking to redevelop the northeastern end of its downtown. Years ago, dilapidated public housing sat on this site. In the late 1990s, when Tampa sought the summer Olympic games, the site was put forward as a possible location for the ‘Olympic village’. Now, the city is engaging in a large scale redevelopment known as ‘Project Encore’. This project is a $450 million investment into a 12 square block stretch that involves many deals with several different private contractors and construction companies. One of these companies is Pinnacle Group Holdings. The firm entered into a contract with the city in the fall of 2013. Under the terms of the agreement, the company was supposed to develop a 300+ room hotel along with 100,000+ square feet of commercial space and more than 300 apartments.
However, as happens with many complex real estate development projects, problems started to arise and delays occurred. Eventually, the Tampa Housing Authority claims that the contractor failed to make a $10,000 payment that was needed to secure a contract extension. As a result, the Housing Authority decided to unilaterally terminate the deal. Pinnacle Group Holdings disputes the city’s claims. It counters that, behind the scenes, the Housing Authority already secretly lined up a new developer to take over the project. The company is seeking financial damages from the Housing Authority for what it claims is an unlawful breach of contract.
Contract Termination: Language Matters
Ultimately, this dispute will come down to the specific terms and provisions included within the development contract. When it comes to unilateral contract termination, language matters. It is imperative that companies obtain contracts that are well-drafted so that their interests are properly protected. When a dispute arises, especially in a complex industry such as real estate development, your company needs to know that it can:
- Get out of a bad deal without too much trouble; and
- Protect itself from the other party walking away from the deal after a large investment has already been made.
In contract negotiations, Florida developers should always be represented by an experienced attorney who can make sure that the agreement fully protects their firm’s legal rights and financial interests.
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At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our business litigation attorneys have extensive experience handling contract disputes. To learn more about what we can do for your company, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team today. From our offices in West Palm Beach, Wellington and Miami, we represent businesses throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach and Miramar.