One of the nation’s largest architecture firms has sued a Chicago developer, saying it’s owed $280,000 for work on a planned residential tower in Denver’s Arapahoe Square.

Perkins & Will, which is also based in Chicago, filed the lawsuit against Akara Partners in Denver District Court last week.

The firm is seeking to foreclose on a mechanic’s lien it placed back in June on 2126-2136 Lawrence St.

Akara purchased that 0.64-acre site, currently a parking lot, in January 2019 for $5.5 million.

While the site has sat unchanged for nearly four years, Akara has been pursuing development behind the scenes since at least early 2018, when it floated the idea of building 34 stories. The most recent version of the firm’s plans, submitted last October, call for a 23-story building with 438 residential units, as well as some ground-floor retail space. There would be 233 parking spaces, some of them underground, and a rooftop pool.

The building would be called Kenect Denver, according to Akara’s website.

“After receiving pricing in the spring, we have made efforts to make some minor adjustments in order to meet our construction budget,” Brad Moeller, Akara’s executive vice president  for development and construction, wrote to the city on June 28.

Akara did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

Perkins & Will, which has a Denver office at 475 Lincoln St., was hired in March 2019 to provide design services for the project, according to its lawsuit. The company said it is owed $280,025, not counting interest and attorney fees. That’s the amount of the lien placed on the property in June.

Perkins & Will is the second-largest American architecture firm by annual revenue, according to trade publication Architectural Record.

In addition to Kenect Denver, Akara’s website shows one other planned project in the Denver area: Akara Littleton, an apartment building that would apparently be built by Southwest Plaza mall.

Attorney Matthew Ninneman of Denver’s Hall & Evans is representing Perkins & Will in the litigation.

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