Cuba Libre DC LLC, the owners behind downtown Washington eatery Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, is suing its former architect in federal court for $1.3 million, claiming that the restaurant was burned by costly design errors.
Cuba Libre's owners filed suit (PDF) Sept. 7 against Orlando, Fla.-based Cuhaci & Peterson LLC in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaint alleges that several inches of incorrect measurements throughout the space pushed the completion of the much-hyped restaurant five months behind schedule.
The restaurant group, represented by Holland & Knight partner Philip Evans, planned to finish building the restaurant in March 2010, but accuse Cuhaci & Peterson of botching the process from start to finish. The first hiccup came in July 2009, when, according to the complaint, the company learned Cuhaci & Peterson had come up with its design plan without on-site surveys.
The lawsuit claims that a post-survey redesign revealed Cuhaci & Peterson had measured the kitchen 8.5 inches too short – a critical error, the company complains, when building a costly new restaurant from scratch including custom-made materials and equipment.
After construction was underway, the restaurant owners claim they then learned that Cuhaci & Peterson had also miscalculated the height of the ceiling by as much as two feet and the width of the entire space by a few inches.
The restaurant opened in the fall of 2010. Evans and representatives for Cuba Libre and Cuhaci & Peterson could not immediately be reached Friday morning. Cuba Libre’s parent company is GuestCounts Hospitality.