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Bliss condo developer sued by former general contractor

ST. PETERSBURG — The former general contractor for Bliss, an 18-story condo tower rising in downtown St. Petersburg, claims it was replaced with another contractor without cause or notice.

In a new lawsuit, Moss & Associates also alleges that developer Taub Entities refused to pay the full price tag of changes that "materially affected" the cost and scope of the project.

Brian Taub, who runs Taub Entities with his wife, Debbie, declined to comment Tuesday, saying he had not yet spoken with his attorney.

In its suit filed Aug. 20 in Pinellas Circuit Court, Moss attached a contract showing that Taub Entities hired it in December for $18 million to build the tower at 176 Fourth Ave. NE just off Beach Drive. Construction was to be completed within 660 days of the time Taub issued a notice to proceed.

Taub, however, never issued a notice and did not terminate its agreement with Moss, but instead hired another contractor, the suit says.

Moreover, when Taub initially contracted with Moss, it knew that the drawings and specifications for the building were incomplete, the suit says. New ones were submitted in late February, but Taub said it would pay only part of the increased cost and wanted Moss to absorb the difference.

"As a result of Taub's breach (of contract), Moss has been damaged by, among other things, losing its benefits of the bargain for anticipated profits," the suit says.

The Moss lawsuit is the third involving Bliss, which has been the target of protests from residents of nearby Parkshore Plaza who claim the tower is too big for its narrow site. One Parkshore condo owner sued the city of St. Petersburg for approving the plans and was in turn sued by Taub for alleged "interference" in the project that jeopardized financing.

Both of those suits are pending.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, with 11 offices from Hawaii to Florida, Moss has been the contractor on numerous projects in Florida including jails, hotels, schools, condo towers and Publix supermarkets.

The new contractor on Bliss is Palm Harbor-based Voeller Construction, the Bliss website shows. Taub said the foundation and core have been poured, and the tower is on schedule for a December 2016 completion date. Of the 29 units, 26 have been sold at prices up to $1.214 million, records show.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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