EpiCentre condos all tied up

EpiCentre's developer claims financing, not a building code requirement, is the reason a 50-story condo tower at the uptown entertainment complex has stalled.

The Ghazi Co.'s development entity, Pacific Avenue, filed suit Monday in federal court seeking $92 million in damages from Charlotte FC, which is Indianapolis developer Flaherty & Collins Properties' development entity at the 210 Trade tower.

The Flaherty & Collins affiliate filed suit June 6 in federal court seeking $70 million in damages from Ghazi's affiliate, claiming it hadn't lived up to obligations and refused to cooperate on a code issue delaying condo construction.

The Ghazi Co.'s Afshin Ghazi, citing “pending litigation,” declined comment on the lawsuit.

The legal battle casts doubt on the future of 210 Trade, but Ghazi said construction continues on the $180 million entertainment complex and aloft hotel on the site at College and Trade streets.

The condo tower's lenders ordered construction stopped in February after being informed of a problem with the city's code enforcement department over the project's air rights arrangement.

Code officials said EpiCentre had been filed as a single-owner building when ownership actually is to be shared by the owners of the condo tower, the office-entertainment complex and the hotel.

Flaherty & Collins claimed The Ghazi Co. has refused to provide the agreements that could satisfy code requirement, but The Ghazi Co. countered in its suit that the condo developer “failed and refused” to execute the documents it presented.

“The sole reason that construction has stopped is that Charlotte FC has not obtained construction financing for the residential” and is using the permitting issue to “extort millions of dollars from Pacific,” The Ghazi Co. claimed.

In their lawsuits, both developers cited numerous issues that caused tension on the site from the earliest days of collaboration and construction 21/2 years ago.

The Ghazi Co. asked the court in its suit to award triple damages of $276 million.

The condo tower is one of two stalled in the center city. The Park Condominiums' lender has begun foreclosure proceedings against the developers of the idle 21-story tower at Third and Caldwell streets.