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Counter Point: San Pedro Bank Lofts Developer Responds

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Nothing better than the CEO of a development company getting in the ring with a newspaper, accusing the media outlet of an "unbalanced view." Yesterday's post on the lawsuit filed by contractor Forefront Builders Corporation against Urban Pacific, the developer behind the San Pedro's Bank Lofts resulted in this comment from Scott Chopin, CEO of Urban Pacific. "I would hope to set the facts straight, as the Random Lengths story tells only one side of the story and paints an unbalanced view of the project," he wrote in an email. He also left this lengthy comment on the site: "Yes, we are still alive and kicking."

We have moved our offices to the F&M Bank Tower, 1/2 block up the street on Pine Ave. for those interested. We loved the old space, but as with all old buildings, things like crappy A/C and leaking roofs drove us to find greener pastures... OK, as a long time Curbed reader, I normally read and don't comment. But now that it's my company in the news, I need to weigh in. Yes, this project has had a troubled life. Predominantly due to a poor choice of general contractors early on. The delays were no fun for us, but we made the best of a bad situation, asked the GC to leave, which he did via his own contract termination. What the Random Lengths article glossed over was that we have a claim against the GC for fraud, mismanagement of project funds, and various other claims. Our counterclaim against the GC is for 10 times more money. This guy did sub-par work, performed poorly, and according to our records, kept some monies owned to subs. As well, some subs walked off the job after the GC terminated, and those subs subsequently did not finish their work per the contract and were not owed the balance of their remaining contracts (including Cornerstone Fire).

So Random Lengths did not write a balanced story, so what, it doesn't change the facts of the underlying story: Bad GC causes poor perfomance, delays ensue, GC walks off the job, new GC onboard, doing the best we can in this dismal market. Don't get me wrong, we're not perfect either, just trying to make the best of a bad situation. We have plenty of great projects that are going beautifully, you just don't read about them 'cause good news don't sell newspapers (or make good blog stories)

Yes, the Vault Building is going rental, a choice made by our investor.

Anyone is free to call me at the office to vent or ask questions, our number is the same as it's been for nearly ten years (562) 590-5600 x101, or email: choppin@urbanpacific.com. Email gets a quicker response."