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Related Sues Boston University For Nearly $8M Over Kenmore Square Project

A rendering of the One Kenmore Square development in Boston.

The Related Cos. is suing Boston University for breach of contract in a lease dispute at the developer’s Kenmore Square project, claiming the university owes it $7.5M.

Related alleges the school is withholding lease and redesign fees for 11-19 Deerfield St., one of the buildings that is part of the One Kenmore Square redevelopment,  attorneys from Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP wrote in the complaint against the Trustees of Boston University, filed last week in Suffolk Superior Court. 

Representatives for Related and BU didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday, and BU has not formally responded to the suit in court. The lawsuit concerning the four-story, 63K SF building was first reported by the Boston Business Journal

The dispute arises from BU and Related's sale-leaseback agreement in 2016 for the properties overlooking Kenmore Square. Related purchased the property for $144M in 2016 and BU signed a 99-year lease at 11-19 Deerfield St. The entire 326K SF development includes 282K SF of new life sciences and office space, a large portion of which was recently leased by wearable technology maker Whoop.

BU occupied 54K SF at 11-19 Deerfield St. from 2016 to 2018, according to the suit. The parties are at odds over responsibility for the interior redesign for the building, with Related alleging it is only responsible to deliver the space “as is” and up to code. BU, according to the suit, wanted Related to handle a more thorough redevelopment including new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and new windows, and cover the cost, which Related refused to do. 

Related agreed to provide redevelopment plans to BU if the university covered the costs, and the developer alleges the school continues to refuse its financial obligations.

The project remains under construction. Whoop is expected to move into the new eight-story, 121K SF Commonwealth Building next spring.