Besieged billionaire skyscraper developer sued for substandard construction

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In real estate in New York, money can usually buy you a minimum of happiness. But residents of one of the city’s most expensive and tallest residential towers are suing its developers for structural flaws they say have made their lives a nightmare.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, the 432 Park Avenue board of directors alleges the 96-story skyscraper overlooking Central Park is “riddled” with more than 1,500 construction and design flaws in common areas alone, many of them are described as “human safety concerns.” . “

According to the board, poor manufacturing and poor planning resulted in flooding, blocked elevators, electrical explosions and “horrible and annoying noises and vibrations” caused by the swaying of the building.

Even throwing garbage in the garbage chute “looks like a bomb.”

“Far from the ultra-luxurious spaces that were promised to them… the owners were sold a building plagued by breakdowns and breakdowns which endangered and embarrassed residents, guests and workers, and repeatedly made the subject of very critical reviews in the press and social networks. “, According to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit would seek $ 125 million plus punitive damages, listing CIM Group and Macklowe Properties as defendants, along with the company they formed to build the tower, identified as the sponsor in the files. Macklowe Properties is run by Harry Macklowe, who is both a developer and a regular on gossip.

Harry macklowe

Sean zanni

When the 1,396-foot-tall skyscraper was completed in 2015, it was the envy of Billionaires Row and the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. Some critics have likened Rafael Viñoly’s 125-unit tower to a major overlooking the Midtown skyline, but it still had a projected sale value of $ 3.1 billion.

While many occupants have purchased properties anonymously through shell companies, known buyers have included former flames Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, who bought a 4,000 square foot apartment at 432 Park in 2018 for $ 15. $ 3 million.

Of course, they only kept their three bedroom condo for about a year.

Saudi billionaire retailer Fawaz Alhokair bought the 96th-floor penthouse in 2016 for $ 88 million, but he’s also selling it: Alhokair put the six-bedroom area up for sale this summer for $ 169 million, including including works of art and furniture. Another house is also currently on the market for $ 135 million, Architectural summary reported earlier this month.

But the cracks in the veneer really did show up in February, when The New York Times reported on many grievances from residents.

Sarina Abramovich told the newspaper that she and her husband bought an apartment at 432 Park for almost $ 17 million in 2016.

As of their move-in date, said Abramovich, their unit and the building were still under construction. She climbed to their apartment in a freight elevator “surrounded by steel plates and plywood, with a helmet operator.”

Three years ago, a water leak several floors above entered the Abramoviche house, causing damage estimated at $ 500,000.

There was severe flooding and water damage at several levels, according to the lawsuit, due to poor surveillance and “significant cut corners” during construction.

“Everything here was camouflage,” Abramovich told the Times in February. “If I had known then what I know now, I would never have bought.”

The lawsuit accuses CIM and Macklowe of “one of the worst examples of sponsor malfeasance in luxury condominium development in New York City history.”

Elevators in buildings, programmed to slow down in high winds, repeatedly stopped and trapped residents for hours “repeatedly.”

Each 12th floor is an open space, intended to allow air currents to pass, reducing wind resistance and reducing stress on the structure. But, according to the lawsuit, even the chairman of the CIM group, Richard Ressler, another resident, admitted in “an unsupervised moment” that the sound and vibration problems were “intolerable” and made it difficult to sleep in bad weather.


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