News Wrap: $1.3B in N.J. Water Work Ok'd; MWBEs Transport Work Up; Data Center Planned (& More)
With 58,000 sq ft of raised floor space and 12 MW of power, the facility can be expanded to add about 100,000 sq ft of raised floor space and boost power up to 20 MW. In connection with the deal, QTS is partnering with IT services provider Atos SE, which will provide MHFI with outsourcing services at the facility.
Experts say the data center market is growing at an above average rate. "Every time somebody posts something to YouTube it requires storage," as does uploading photos, Rick Whitney, president and CEO of tech contractor M+W U.S. Inc., told ENR New York earlier this year. "All of that info has to be stored, so we see data centers continuing to be a substantial growth market."
He adds that the southern New Jersey-to-Delaware corridor is considered to be one of the latest data center building hot spots and major project announcements from the region should be expected within the next 18 months.
Suit Over Barclays Site Dig Moves Forward
Subcontractor Laquila Construction Group's suit against Barclays Center prime contractor Hunt Construction Group can proceed, according to a New York state judge's ruling earlier this summer.
Laquila was the Brooklyn arena's New York City-based excavation and foundation subcontractor. The facility opened on time in September 2012. In its suit, Laquila charges that it is due additional payment for work, even though the subcontractor had already signed releases when it accepted progress payments during the project.
Laquila filed a complaint against Hunt in state court in Brooklyn in May 2013. Although Hunt paid Laquila all the money due under the original $27.5 million contract, plus payments covering change orders, Laquila says in its lawsuit that it is owed $10.8 million more. Laquila sent Hunt a letter in January 2013 asking for the additional pay.
Changes to the scope of work, delays related to permits and hazardous material found at the site all added to the costs and time needed to finish the work, Laquila claims. Among other issues, Laquila claims that Hunt failed to provide access to the site in the promised sequence, to obtain permits needed to do the work and to disclose the presence of arsenic.
In a June 25 ruling, Judge Carolyn Demarest said that although Hunt had compensated Laquila for many changes made to the contract, Hunt failed to provide conclusive evidence against Laquila's claim that the changes in scope constituted a "cardinal" change to the contract.
Demarest added that Hunt failed to provide enough documentary evidence to overturn Laquila's claim that the contractor orally modified the subcontract terms to meet the project schedule and method of payment.
The heart of Hunt's pleading to disqualify the claim was that it had paid all amounts due in progress payments and that acceptance of the payments included signed releases from claims.
"This action is an improper attempt by Laquila to obtain a windfall by asserting claims in a litigation that were previously paid, resolved and released," Hunt argued.
Hunt claimed in its pleading that, as a result, Laquila seeks to convince the court that increases in its contract price are justified and that Hunt breached its contract.
"In truth, virtually all of the issues identified by Laquila were contemplated by the subcontract and were addressed through a series of change orders," for which Laquila received additional pay, Hunt claims.
M&A Activity Heats Up in the Region
Merger and acquisition activity has heated up this summer for industry firms based in the tristate region or those with a major presence here, with several major deals completed or announced.
Recent deals include AECOM Technology Corp.'s purchase of Hunt Construction Group, which came on the heels of the engineering giant's announced plans to buy URS Corp. Also, London-based Balfour Beatty's planned sale of its New York City-based design arm to Parsons Brinckerhoff continues, even as the UK firm rejected in mid-August a merger pursuit for the third time by its British construction peer, Carillion.
The Hunt deal boosts AECOM's construction capabilities now provided through its Tishman Construction unit that was purchased in 2010. Terms were not disclosed. Hunt, which has more than 700 employees, generated U.S. revenue of $1.2 billion in 2013.
AECOM is now moving to ingest URS, for which it announced a planned purchase on July 13 in a $6-billion cash, stock and debt-assumption transaction. That deal is set to close in October. The purchases would create a firm with 95,000 employees and pro forma revenue of $20 billion, AECOM said.
Meanwhile, Balfour Beatty rejected Carillion's merger proposal on Aug. 20, partly because of Carillion's insistence that it abandon its plan to sell PB. Balfour said that its board "unanimously concluded that the [Carillion] proposal is not in the best interests of its shareholders and has decided to reject [it]."