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Contractor alleges Bill Edwards’ firm owes for Sundial renovation

By Malena Carollo
Hennessy Construction Services Corp., a St. Petersburg contractor, is suing Bill Edwards' firm Loan Ranger Acquisitions, saying Loan Ranger still owes $132,000 from Sundial St. Pete renovations. Pictured is construction at then-named The Shops at St. Pete in 2014. | [Times file photo]

ST. PETERSBURG — The construction company that performed the massive renovations at the Sundial entertainment hub is suing developer and Sundial owner Bill Edwards’ company.

According to the Oct. 31 lawsuit, Edwards-owned Loan Ranger Acquisitions hired St. Petersburg-based Hennessy Construction Services Corp. in 2013 to renovate the downtown complex then known as "The Shops at St. Pete."

During renovations, the complaint said, three modifications were made to the original renovation request, amounting to an extra $132,000.

"Loan Ranger Acquisitions has failed and refused to make the payment due under the written contract," the complaint said.

Related coverage: Bill Edwards hires outside firm to manage Sundial St. Pete

But Marion Hale, a lawyer for Edwards on the case, said Loan Ranger doesn’t owe the construction company anything. She said Hennessy was already paid about $35 million for its work on Sundial.

What’s more, in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Hale accused Hennessy of shoddy work on the roof, resulting in unspecified structural issues. She claims Hennessy was aware of the issue and agreed to fix it, but has not.

"We’re just trying to make sure that the work done at Sundial was done correctly," she said, adding that she does not consider it a safety hazard.

Brian Deeb, a lawyer for Hennessy, disputed her claim about the roof.

"I have not seen any pleadings filed in response to the complaint, but any such allegations are incorrect and will be contested," he said.

Edwards purchased the property for $5.2 million in 2011. Sundial opened in 2014 following significant renovations, attracting a range of retailers to the location. At one point in 2016, Edwards explored a sale of the complex.

This summer, Chicago-based property management firm JLL was hired to oversee day-to-day operations there.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.