Storms set back already stalled hotel - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Storms set back already stalled hotel

Little work on Sunway hotel project at Oracle, Linda Vista since January

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Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:06 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Recent monsoon storms have damaged a hotel construction project in Oro Valley.

Portions of wood framing collapsed at the Sunway Oro Valley hotel project near Oracle Road and Linda Vista Boulevard after summer winds and rain ripped through the area Aug. 29.

The damaged prompted town officials to limit access to the property until structural engineers make an assessment of the damage, and workers remove the wreckage.

Officials with Sunway said they have plans to repair the damaged structures and continue work at the hotel.

"We're going to be finishing the project soon," said Linda L. Smith, senior vice president of Kansas-based Sunway Hotel Group.

A dollar value of the damage has not been determined. It comes after several months of delay on the project; the town's last inspection at the site occurred on Jan. 14.

Sunway has since applied for extensions to prevent its construction permits from lapsing. "There has been work going on, but it's been slow," Smith said.

The project has had other setbacks since breaking ground in 2009.

In May, representatives with Kansas-based Sunway Hotel Group told The Explorer that a key lender pulled out of the project, stopping work on the 120-room hotel project.

Smith said the company has applied for new financing.

"The loan will be closing in the very near future," she said.

Since July, five contractors have filed lawsuits in Pima County Superior Court against the company. The suites all claim breach of contract and demand payment for service and labor that was provided. Claims total $723,873.

Samos Bros. Framing seeks the largest settlement from the company, asking for $350,000 in unpaid labor and material expenses. That suit also names numerous other construction firms and lenders as defendants.

Sahara Development filed suit seeking $283,159 from Sunway. Details of a related claim filed by a Sahara subsidiary were not available for review at the courthouse.

Missouri-based Quaker Windows Products has claimed it's due more than $88,000. In its complaint against Sunway, the company claims a Missouri-based construction firm Sunway hired was not licensed to conduct business in Arizona.

A search of Arizona Corporation Commission records for the company name, Am-Bur Construction, did not turn up any matches. The company was found in the Missouri Secretary of State's business database as a firm in good standing.

Asked whether the new financing would remedy the legal issues, Smith replied, "Yes."

Despite the setbacks, Sunway is committed to the project. A site superintendent remains on staff and works at the hotel site five days a week.

"It's a viable project," Smith said. "We're going to be finishing the project."

She said the company plans to have the hotel completed in the first quarter of 2011.

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