The developer behind a 2-year-old plan to redevelop a dormant Petersburg hotel has filed a response to a lawsuit from a Richmond architecture firm seeking compensation for work it says it is owed.
In its response filed Sept. 8 in Richmond Circuit Court, Maryland-based C.A. Harrison Cos. – the developer on a planned conversion of the nine-story former Ramada Inn along Interstate 95 – disputes claims from a lawsuit by Shockoe Slip firm Commonwealth Architects that it is owed upwards of $150,000 for services related to the project.
Harrison contends a services proposal between the parties is not a valid and enforceable contract and that Commonwealth did not properly bill for its services. The developer further alleges the services spelled out in Commonwealth’s lawsuit were not completed and that the firm is not owed any money.
The response requests a jury trial and the dismissal of one of Commonwealth’s claims seeking compensation of $155,000, described in the suit as the “reasonable value” of its services plus interest and legal costs.
In its lawsuit filed July 27, Commonwealth alleged breach of contract against Harrison, which announced in late 2015 a plan to redevelop the property into a 125-room hotel, 100 apartments and more than 20,000 square feet of retail space in five additional or renovated buildings lining Washington and Wythe streets, just west of I-95.
The existing 125,000-square-foot hotel building would be turned into a Cambria Hotel & Suites brand and resized, with the top two floors removed and additions to each side to make the 1973 building consistent with industry standards.
The project was estimated to cost between $20 million and $25 million.
Commonwealth, which had worked with Harrison before on an apartment project in North Carolina, had drawn up plans for the Petersburg project based on a proposal to provide conceptual analysis services. Its lawsuit states Harrison accepted and signed an amended proposal for those services, and it includes that signed document as an exhibit.
Harrison’s response states the document is not a valid contract and alleges there is no “properly executed, binding or enforceable written contract between the parties.”
Harrison is represented by R. Webb Moore and Jaime Wisegarver of Shockoe Bottom-based Hirschler Fleischer. Calls to Moore and Wisegarver for comment were not returned Friday.
Commonwealth is represented by Durrette Crump attorney S. Sadiq Gill. He previously told BizSense his client did perform services that warrant compensation.