Upscale apartments’ developer sued their builder, who sued back. What the judge did

A federal judge in Boise has ordered mediation for the developer of The Fowler and the construction company that built the seven-story Downtown apartment building.

The Roost, a company formed by Los Angeles and Boise developer LocalConstruct to build The Fowler at 5th and Myrtle streets, sued Andersen Construction Co. last May. Roost said Andersen took nearly nine extra months to complete the 159-unit building, which opened last March.

Andersen, a Portland company with a Boise office, denied it did anything wrong and countersued.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale referred the matter on Jan. 29 to fellow Magistrate Mikel Williams to resolve a lawsuit filed last May by The Roost Project against Andersen Construction Co.

In mediation, a neutral party meets separately with the representatives of each side and goes back and forth in an attempt to resolve the issues. There is no requirement to reach an agreement, but it’s used to try and avoid taking a case to trial.

Roost said Andersen executives continually misled them about progress, in part blaming delays on the “Snowmageddon” storm that brought 15 inches of snow to Boise in late December 2016 and early January 2017.

Roost’s lawsuit blames the problems on Andersen’s failure to seal the building on time, before the snowstorms hit, along with negligent snow removal and project mismanagement. Roost claimed $2.5 million in added expenses because the building didn’t open on time and $1.9 million in lost rent — $4.4 million in all.

Andersen claimed Roost submitted faulty construction documents that led Andersen to file 270 requests for further information and to process 88 change orders.

Andersen said the change orders and an industry-wide labor shortage delayed completion by seven months. The company said it was entitled under its contract to extra time due to delays either because of Roost’s actions or because of acts beyond Andersen’s reasonable control.

Andersen said it lost $5.9 million in all, including:

$1.5 million from work order changes.

$3 million in payments to subcontractors for extra work because of the storms and other project delays.

$1.4 million in penalties because the building wasn’t finished on time.

Williams is scheduled to meet March 11 with attorneys for both companies.

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.