Image courtesy of Leggat McCall Properties

Suffolk Construction is seeking $10 million in damages from developers of The Smith No. 99, a South End luxury apartment block that opened in May following a series of delays.

According to the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court, developer BentallOakGreen instructed Suffolk Construction to begin the final punch list process prematurely, forcing Suffolk to hire substitute labor, “in part because many of [Suffolk’s] subcontract trade partners refused to perform the additional punch list work due to the owner’s previous and ongoing failures to pay for other extra trade work.”

BentallOakGreen, the real estate advisor for Multi-Employer Property Trust, acquired the South End properties from Boston Medical Center in 2015 and redeveloped the former medical office buildings and parking lots as 605 apartments in two phases.

Located at 99 East Dedham St., the Smith No. 99 is the second phase of the 600,000-square-foot project and opened in May. The complex was originally scheduled to open in fall 2023.

According to the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court on July 2, delays in completion of the project were attributed in part to late delivery of electrical switchgear that hampered completion of a permanent power connection. Gas connections and fire alarm systems also were delayed.

The delays in delivery of the switch gear constitute an “excusable and compensable delay” under terms of the $146 million contract with BentallOakGreen, Suffolk attorneys from Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP wrote in the complaint.

The lack of a permanent power source contributed to further delays, the complaint states, forcing construction workers to reenter every apartment unit after final painting to remove temporary equipment.

The gas connection was delayed by a COVID-induced moratorium on hook-ups and subsequent backlogs, and was completed in September 2023. Fire alarm designs were rejected by the Boston Fire Department in May 2023 and had to be redesigned, the lawsuit states.

The complaint also blames BentallOakGreen for delays in ordering of Italian kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

“The constant reworking in units necessarily caused delays and additional costs, and also resulted in minor damage to many units, such as dents and scratches to finished areas, resulting in even further re-work and increased costs and additional punchlists,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint was first reported by Law360. BentallOakGreen declined comment. The case has been accepted into the Suffolk Business Litigation session.

Designed by CBT Architects, the 12-story building at 99 East Dedham St. includes a multi-story roof deck, indoor and outdoor fitness areas, private office spaces and conference rooms and a vinyl record-equipped lounge. The complex currently lists rents starting at $3,706.

Suffolk Files $10M Suit Over Delayed South End Development

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min