OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The construction project was supposed to take 60 days. Instead, it took nearly 400. Now, a local brewery in the heart of Automobile Alley is taking legal action against Oklahoma City to make up the damages.
“As soon as you think, ‘It’s okay, this isn’t so bad.’ Well, then it changes into a worse position,” said Andrew Carrales, the co-owner of The Vanessa House Beer Company.
Carrales told KFOR after The Vanessa House Beer Company opened in October 2018, business was good. The beer and cash were flowing.
“We are in a bustling area. We’re in automobile alley. This is an area that has a lot of foot traffic and we pay rent based on that,” he said.
Fast forwarded six months to April 2019 when the city of Oklahoma City told them about a new construction project.
A new road, sidewalk, and waterline fix were going to happen right outside their door.
Carrales said they were originally told the project would take two weeks.
“But, when they started doing that, they realized that ‘Well, this water line isn’t where we though it was. So, now that’s got to be replaced and moved,’” said Carrales.
According to the lawsuit, the city told the brewery there would be “no survey or assessment of the existing infrastructure conditions being performed prior to demolition.”
When the project started, the city also allegedly found “water and sewer lines not drawn properly in the plans for construction” and “curbs and sidewalks not designed to meet ADA standards,” among other issues.
“They’re looking at whatever exists from the 19-God knows when, and it hasn’t been updated and probably wasn’t done correctly at the time,” said Carrales.
With every discovery, the lawsuit alleged the deadline was pushed back.
Two weeks turned into 60 days, then 90 days, then the Spring of the following year.
“We had to go to a city council meeting. And we stood up, we made noise,” said Carrales.
Meanwhile, the brewery said the street and sidewalk pavement were all churned up.
“All our free parking was gone,” said Carrales. “You basically had to drive around the whole block to get here.”
Meanwhile, the beer inside the taproom was nearly untapped.
“The taproom is really kind of like the beating heart of the brewery. This is what’s going to fund your growth and your success,” Carrales told News 4. “We’re paying rent based on foot traffic that comes through this area. And that was very difficult to meet.”
In May of 2020, nearly 400 days later, the project was complete amid the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the construction cleared, the Brewery is fighting to make up the damages.
“We’re trying to get back dollars lost that should be going out of this taproom for that whole year,” said Carrales.
News 4 reached out to the city of Oklahoma City. We were told the city does not comment on pending litigation.