Alabama Beach Condo Developer Wants BP to Pay Claim

May 1, 2012

Developers of an Orange Beach, Alabama condo project say BP should pay out a claim they filed for losses they say resulted from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Press-Register reported that developer Larry Wireman filed a claim for his $375 million Turquoise Place condominium project. Wireman said BP gave money to a competing tower, Phoenix West II, and he wants similar compensation.

“They set a precedent when they gave money to Phoenix West” after the BP oil spill of 2010, he said. “I think the world of that group (Brett/Robinson) and have nothing bad to say about them. But BP gave them a subsidy and they started competing with us. BP skewed the market to help one entity.”

BP/PLC agreed in December 2010 to give developer Brett/Robinson $37.2 million to finish building the Phoenix West II tower. The $245 million project had been set to open in July 2009, but that was delayed until 2011. Units that were priced between $650,000 and 850,000 in March 2009, now sell for about $550,000.

Before the spill in April 2010, sales for the second tower at Turquoise had been picking up, said Turquoise vice president for development Stephen King, but the company was forced to cut prices drastically following the spill.

“The oil spill killed us,” King said. Two units sold at Turquoise the entire summer of 2010, he said. “In October 2010, to spark sales velocity, we lopped off $200,000 a unit.”

Units that had originally sold for $925,000 were priced at $725,000.

Turquoise developers last year filed a claim for an amount similar to what the Phoenix developer got, and the claim was approved by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. But BP disagreed and appealed the decision. King said a final decision on the appeal should be made in mid-May.

BP’s spokesman Justin Saia said, “Our policy is not to comment on individual claims.”

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