At the 'Pinnacle of Luxury,' a Lawsuit and a Response

CIM Group responds to $125M lawsuit over 432 Park Avenue
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2021 9:11 AM CST
Luxury Condo Developer: $125M Suit All About 'Publicity'
A building at 432 Park Avenue, center, is seen from Central Park in Manhattan, New York, on Feb. 18, 2016.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – Complaints from wealthy residents of the 432 Park Avenue luxury condominium tower on Manhattan's Billionaires' Row have been "vastly exaggerated," a developer says in response to a $125 million lawsuit from the building's condo board. The suit, filed in September, painted the megatower erected in 2015, once home to Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, as "one of the worst examples of developer malfeasance in the history of New York City," as the Wall Street Journal puts it. It described 1,500 construction and design defects including electrical issues, elevators out of commission, loud bangs, creaking walls, and water leaks that caused millions of dollars in damage.

Some residents were forced out of their units for more than a year and a half, according to the suit. It also stated condo charges rose 39% in 2019 as the property's insurance premiums spiked due to all the problems. Developer CIM Group filed its response in New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, stating the megatower is "without a doubt, safe" and "the pinnacle of luxury," per the Real Deal. It admits the building's systems needed fine-tuning after residents moved in but says many issues flagged by the board have already been fixed. It adds it was unable to complete additional repairs as the board "repeatedly and unlawfully prevented sponsor from accessing the building," including by deactivating its representatives' keys, making the lawsuit nothing but a "publicity campaign."

The developer further claims board president Meir Cohen failed to inform unit owners how the board stymied its actions during an October meeting held on Zoom, at which the lawsuit was discussed but the developer wasn't permitted to speak. An attorney for the board denies this. This is "yet another attempt by the Sponsor to shirk responsibility by rewriting the record of its malfeasance," Jonathan Adelsberg tells the Journal. "We will continue to ensure that the Sponsor is held accountable for their persistent failures." Co-developer Harry Macklowe has yet to respond to the suit. (This summer, a penthouse unit there was available for $169 million.)

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