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ATLANTA-Believed to be the first time in its 100-year history that SkanskaUSA-Beers Construction Co. walked off a major project, company officials acknowledge they did so at the estimated $33 million, 25-story, 162-unit condominium Museum Tower after a disagreement with Centennial Hill Development Partners over cost allowances for the tower’s facade and common areas.

Centennial Hill Development Partners is expected to hire a new general contractor this week to complete the condo section of the $127 million, mixed-use venture at Centennial Hill, across from Centennial Olympic Park. That’s where COPA Inc., the project’s master developer, plans a 19-acre residential neighborhood.

C.D. Moody Construction Co. of Redan, GA was joint venturing the general contracting work with Beers’ Atlanta headquarters division and also walked off the project. Southeast Capital Partners is part of the Centennnial Hill development team.

Representatives of Beers, Moody, Southeast Capital Partners and Centennial Hill Development Partners couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. But area lawyers practicing construction law tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity, the walkout episode is headed for the courtroom.

“The general contractor will be suing the developer and the developer will be countersuing the contractor,” the lawyers tell GlobeSt.com. “That’s the general path this sort of dispute takes in this industry.”

The developer projects the condo venture will be at least five weeks behind schedule. It was supposed to be completed by August 2002, about 18 months after breaking ground in February of this year. But a protracted lawsuit in state court could delay the project even further, construction industry estimators tell GlobeSt.com.

“The contractor could ask the court to halt the job indefinitely until certain issues are resolved, like how much the contractor is due to be paid on the unfinished portion of his contract,” an Atlanta construction industry lawyer familiar with similar disagreements tells GlobeSt.com.

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