More than $646,000 is owed to contractors who worked for over a year to ensure the new Price Chopper on Central Avenue would be opened by Monday, June 1, according to Chip Kronau, president of Kronau Construction and Equipment Inc.
Help us get OUR green, read fliers being handed out Monday night by more than a dozen subcontractors and contractors who worked to lay concrete, put in new sidewalks and install other exterior features at the Price Chopper in Colonie Plaza, at 1892 Central Ave.
According to Kronau, WP Realty, the company that manages Colonie Plaza, had paid the contractors for their service up until September, at which point contractors did not receive money for more than three months of work.
The amount Kronau’s company is owed amounts to over $646,000, he said. In turn, Kronau said he owes more than $500,000 to the subcontractors he hired to complete the job.
In consulting with his attorney, Kronau said, he had learned that while WP Realty had pledged to pay the contractors, early on in the project, perhaps even before the contractors broke ground, the company had run out of financing for the project but let the work proceed.
Kronau said WP Realty told the contractors they could sue them, if they wanted.
`We’re left with no choice,` Kronau said.
Representatives from WP Realty were unavailable for comment.
Pickets were still standing outside Price Chopper as of Tuesday afternoon, June 2. Marc Micare, a subcontractor who worked on the project, said the goal of the picket is to pressure Price Chopper into pressuring WP Realty to compensate the workers.
`We do a lot of work for the Town of Colonie,` Micare said, of the disappointment he has with the way this situation has been handled.
Tuesday morning, Kronau told The Spotlight that aside from what is owed by WP Realty, Price Chopper owed him about $320,000, which he said it had hinted it would not pay as long as the pickets continued. Price Chopper had hired the contractors separately to finish exterior work more quickly in order to ensure the store could open June 1.
`They kind of hinted that there will be problems getting the check if we’re out here,` he said.
Vice President of Public Relations and Consumer Services Mona Golub said Tuesday morning that allegation was completely false.
`That is not my understanding at all,` she said. `We have paid all of our contractors that we have working inside the store. We don’t owe a single contractor money.`
Golub said Price Chopper is aware of the contractor’s concerns and that Price Chopper had offered to help, although she stressed that the issue has nothing to do with the supermarket.
`It’s an issue between the landlord, the financer, and to my understanding, the contractor,` she said. `We offered to try and help yesterday, but [we] wish that the contractor had tried to reach out to us before yesterday.`
When asked if Price Chopper had been in contact with WP Realty, Golub said she did not know, but that, `I’m sure our construction and engineering folks have that situation handled.`
Hours later, as The Spotlight was heading to press, Kronau called to say Price Chopper has paid him the money owed to his company.
The Spotlight followed up with Golub, who said the reason she had previously said the company did not owe any contractor money was because the date by which Price Chopper had to pay the contractors by had not come.
`There’s no contract that we made that had a due date that was past,` Golub said. `We happened to cut a check for this gentleman earlier than it was due.`
Kronau said that despite the payment from Price Chopper, the contractors intend to keep picketing as long as they can afford to or until WP Realty pays the money that the contractors are owed.
`We’d like to have some sort of presence out there,` Kronau said.
Contractors broke ground on the new Price Chopper, which took the place of the old Price Chopper at Colonie Plaza, about a year ago. It is touted for being Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certified for its entirely green design. It is also the only Price Chopper in the area with an expanded Kosher foods section.