New York City developer Park7 Group is facing millions in alleged unpaid construction work conducted by subcontractors for an unfinished five-story student housing complex on Scripture Street.
Construction has begun for the project — a five-story, 155-unit single-room occupancy complex planned to feature multiple interconnected buildings — at a lot near the University of North Texas at 1501 Scripture St. The project drew controversy in 2016, when Park7 initially came to the city to move forward with the idea, because several residents were concerned about the impact of such a tall and wide complex on their neighborhood.
After necessary zoning changes for the project’s initial plan were axed by Denton’s Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council amid those resident concerns, Park7 scaled down the project to meet requirements in 2018. Construction has been in progress at the Scripture Street lot since at least January, but Park7 now faces millions in unpaid construction work from several subcontractors.
The unpaid work was addressed via mechanics liens — legal documents that contractors can file as they seek compensation for labor or materials they’ve provided for a project. Several subcontractors filed liens between April and August stating they hadn’t been paid, according to county records.
The largest claim came from Legacy Precast LLC, a concrete contractor based in Brookshire, Texas, which alleged it was still owed a total of $3.27 million for concrete and the construction of the project’s parking garage between January and May. It filed four separate liens between April and July, the last of which showed the cumulative total of $3.27 million.
In early August, Legacy Precast filed a lawsuit against Park7 involving breach of contract claims. According to county court records, the most recent development in the suit was Legacy Precast making a motion for summary judgement Nov. 5, which the court did not move forward with. Legacy Precast declined to comment on its involvement with the Denton project and Park7 Group could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts by phone and e-mail.
Denton-based real estate attorney Richard Hayes said construction liens are typically filed over disputes between the two parties rather than one simply not being able to pay the other, and that in the case of a lawsuit, the lien claimant would have to prove their lien is valid and that they fulfilled the requirements of their contract for the court to rule in their favor.
“More often than not, you’re going to be able to resolve it without having a trial,” Hayes said. “Once you establish there are damages, part two is if they have a validly enforceable mechanics lien.”
Randy Hunt, a resident of the area who has actively opposed the project since Park7 first came to the city years ago, said construction started slowing around May and that progress hasn’t been made since then. While resident concerns centered mainly around the sheer size of the project and the traffic it would bring to the neighborhood, he said the construction caused problems for the community as well.
“It’s been from not good to very bad,” Hunt said. “The noise itself was a nuisance.”
Park7 Group has at least one completed student housing project under its belt in Park Place Arlington, a similar development that provides off-campus housing to University of Texas at Arlington students. While that property has its own website, Park7’s main website has no information on any of the company’s developments and it does not appear any official information is available online for the Denton project.