The condominium authority in the super-tall tower 432 Park Avenue, one of the most expensive addresses in the world, is suing the developers for $ 125 million in damages, citing multiple floods, broken elevators, "unbearable" noise from building swaying and an electrical explosion in June – the second in three years – which, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday, lost power to residents.
The nearly 1,400-foot tower, designed by star architect Rafael Viñoly's firm, was first scrutinized in February when The Times revealed many of the allegations made in the new lawsuit.
"This case represents one of the worst examples of sponsor misconduct in the development of a luxury condominium in New York City history," said the New York Supreme Court lawsuit against the developers, the CIM Group and Macklowe Properties. The damage includes the estimated cost of repairing approximately 1,500 design and construction defects on common elements of the building identified by an engineering firm hired by the housing management company; it does not include potential punitive damages or separate lawsuits that individual residents could bring.
The damage could increase, said Jonathan Adelsberg, partner at Herrick Feinstein, who represents the property management board that the residents took over from the sponsor in 2020.
“It's almost like peeling an onion,” he said, referring to defects that may have yet to be discovered. "This is work in progress to find out what is wrong."
"Every commitment and deadline contained in the 432 Park's offering plan and declaration has been met," a spokesman for the sponsor, which CIM Group belongs to, said in a statement, adding that some of the remaining "maintenance and Closing items "" were hindered by the housing management.
Macklowe Properties, the other developer, did not return requests for comments.
Built in 2015 with an estimated sales value of $ 3.1 billion, the pencil-like tower marked a high point in the city's luxury housing development – much of it aimed at part-time residents and investors hiding their identities behind letterbox companies. Buyers included Saudi retail tycoon Fawaz Alhokair, who bought an $ 88 million apartment on the 96th floor; a member of the Beckmann family who own the Jose Cuervo Tequila brand; and the one-off pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, who bought a 4,000-square-foot apartment for $ 15.3 million in 2018 and sold it about a year later.
"Apart from the promised ultra-luxurious rooms, however, the apartment owners were sold a building that was plagued by breakdowns and breakdowns that endangered and annoyed the residents," the complaint said.
The complaint identified deficiencies in a number of interconnected systems in the building, many of which pose "life safety" issues.
Residents have been trapped in blocked elevator cars "several times" for hours, at least in part because of the building sway that occurs in towers so immense, the suit said.
There have been a number of floods and leaks, both in the upper floors and in the basement, which the board attributes to poor plumbing. About 35 residential units and common areas were damaged by water, causing millions in damage, and a flood brought two residential elevators to a standstill for weeks.
Noise complaints related to the quality of the construction were common. The lawsuit alleges that even Richard Ressler, a founder of The CIM Group and a unit owner once said the noise and vibration issues were "unbearable" and made sleeping difficult in bad weather. Another local resident said the rubbish chute "sounds like a bomb" when rubbish is thrown.
The lawsuit stated that the decision to go public was due to the developers' inadequate “patchwork approach” to solving many problems. While trying to mend a leak in a basement of the building last June, a contractor mistakenly drilled electrical wiring, causing an explosion "that threw the contractor several meters backwards" and the electricity for some residents failed and turn off the air conditioner. It cost more than $ 1.5 million to repair.
The 125-unit building is almost sold out, but resale has been slow since reports of defects in the building surfaced in February, according to Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty.
There are 11 units for sale, she said, from about $ 7 million for a low-floor two-bedroom to $ 169 million for the penthouse. Only one sale has been closed since January.
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