Legacy Partners

LIVERMORE — Following an interruption of about four months to find a new general contractor, construction work recently resumed to build the 222-unit Legacy Partners apartment complex in downtown Livermore.

SBI Builders, a San Jose-based residential and commercial general contracting company, took over construction on the Legacy development from Katerra, a Houston contractor that filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in June.

Renato O’Neal, co-owner of SBI Builders with his partner, Paul Nuytten, said the project was about 35% completed when construction halted. The job will take a couple of years for his firm to complete, he said.

“There’s a substantial amount of work left,” he said.

O’Neal said he and Nuytten heard news about Katerra’s bankruptcy filing, looked at the list of Katerra projects suddenly made available for other contractors and bid for the Legacy job through a surety firm handling the matter.

O’Neal said SBI Builders beat three other general contractors, and once the “extensive paperwork process” was completed, began planning work on Oct. 26.

According to its company website, SBI specializes in constructing affordable and market-rate multi-family housing, single daily luxury and tract home building, commercial tenant improvements and residential rehabilitation projects. SBI has several projects underway in Northern California, including Mountain View, Redwood City and Hayward.

The Livermore City Council approved the Legacy development at the former Groth Bros. auto dealership site at First and L streets in June 2018. The mixed-use project includes 14,000-square-feet of retail space, three- and four-story apartment buildings, a restaurant and a parking structure. Once completed, the area containing retail will include two floors of apartments in three-story buildings. Elsewhere, housing rises from three- to four-stories in height.

The parking structure was partially completed when work stopped.

O’Neal said the first step to resuming construction was examining what was done to make sure nothing was damaged while the structure sat idle.

O’Neal said some of the subcontractors previously working on the project for Katerra returned. About 150 to 250 people will be on site every day.

When Katerra, a contractor, supplier and designer founded in 2015, announced its voluntary bankruptcy filing, the company said its financial position had deteriorated rapidly because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the construction industry and inability to procure bonding for developments following the unexpected insolvency proceedings of Katerra’s former lender.

Representatives for Legacy — a Foster City-headquartered real estate firm that owns, develops and manages multifamily projects throughout the United States — did not respond to emails and phone messages for comment.