$100 Million Suit Planned Over Former Deutsche Bank Building
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
The last chapter in the tortured tale of the former Deutsche Bank building near ground zero will play out in court now that the 41-story office tower has finally been dismantled.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation plans to file a $100 million claim in State Supreme Court in Manhattan next week against Bovis Lend Lease, the construction manager it hired more than five years ago for a job that was supposed to be completed in June 2007.
If successful, the lawsuit would pare the taxpayers’ bill to about $57 million for a project that ultimately cost $266 million, more than twice the original estimate. Two former insurers of the tower — AXA and Allianz — agreed a year ago to pay $102.4 million toward the total cost. And this month, the corporation settled an asbestos case against Deutsche Bank, the former owner of the building, for $3.8 million.
“We will do everything within our power to ensure that we recover what is owed to the taxpayers and put it to use downtown, where there are still many unmeet needs,” said Avi Schick, chairman of the development corporation.
Bovis, which declined to comment, filed its own lawsuit six months ago claiming that it had been shortchanged at least $80 million for work it was ordered to do in decontaminating and demolishing the building.
Almost nothing has gone according to plan with the building, which was one of the nation’s most expensive and long-running demolition projects, finally finishing this month. The north side of the tower was heavily damaged during the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
The development corporation bought the building in 2004 and hired Bovis under an $82 million contract to oversee its demolition. The project was plagued by lengthy delays, political squabbling and a fire that killed two firefighters in 2007.
Bovis narrowly avoided being indicted in that blaze. The company is also at the center of an investigation by the United State attorney in Brooklyn into allegations of overcharges on 100 public-works projects.
The development corporation’s lawsuit will seek to recover money it advanced to Bovis as part of a 2007 agreement to get the stalled project moving, as well as certain costs for which Bovis may have obtained insurance payments.
The corporation is expected to turn the site over to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey next month.