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08Oct92 SPAIN: CROWN HOUSE ENGINEERING WITHDRAWS STAFF FROM £400M HOTEL ARTS BARCELONA COMPLEX.

Tarmac subsidiary Crown House Engineering has withdrawn its staff from the troubled £400 million Hotel Arts Barcelona complex.Crown House was expected to take over M and E work from Irish contractor MF Kent at the unfinished 42-storey hotel.But subcontractors at the site believe a rift between development partners Ware Travelstead, of America, and Sogo, the Japanese retail chain, has caused the move.Travelstead called in Crown House last month to assess the works needed to complete the hotel, which is 10 month's late and faces huge cost overruns.M F Kent claims it is owed £12 million after its contract was terminated by Hovisa, the joint development company. Hovisa claims Kent was 'unable to complete the work in accordance with scheduled deadlines.'It is understood Crown House is standing by until the split between Sogo and Travelstead is resolved.M F Kent and other subcontractors owed cash say problems started when Mr Travelstead himself assumed resposibility for the project from Bovis when it became clear the hotel would not be open in time for the Olympic Games.A source claims spate of plan and design changes led to the cost overruns.Meanwhile, a large group of Spanish, British and Irish subcontractors and suppliers this week formed a creditors' association.The Barcelona Action of Reimbursement - BARCA - is asking Sogo to honour outstanding payments.