The former owner of a Lower East Side development site claims the 53 Chinese-American investors he sold the assemblage to in 2011 screwed him out of a $40,000 down payment for a condo at the mothballed project.
Anthony Marano, a principal at development company Ozymandius Realty, claims in a lawsuit filed last month that he sold a five-parcel development site known as 210 Delancey Street to the members of “Delancey Bridge Towers LLC” for $8.5 million on the condition he would receive a condo unit and storage space in the basement “at a price substantially below the market value.”
Plans for the 12-story, 69-unit mixed-use building were approved by the Department of Buildings in 2012, but sputtered in 2014 when DOB issued two stop work orders and construction halted at four stories. There’s been no activity since, and the site has been listed on the market for $35.5 million.
Marano claims in court papers that he learned “the sale of condominium units without prior approval of the Attorney General is illegal and the defendant’s entire scheme was apparently illegal,” adding that he “never would have agreed” to sell if he had known. That’s despite Marano having claiming on his own website to have sourced, raised funds and managed construction for numerous condo projects, such as 50 Bond Street, 70 West 3rd Street and 20 East 17th Street.
Marano’s attorney, David Jaroslawicz, said his client made a $40,000 payment for the condo and paid $10,000 for the basement space. A new owner would be not be aware of Marano’s arrangement. A lis pendens was placed on the property last week.
Bing Li, the lawyer for Delancey Bridge Towers LLC principal Andy Zhu, said the contract doesn’t require his client to finish the project. In fact, he said, Marano is the one who breached the terms of the deal.
Marano was to make 10 installments for a total $408,000 for the condo, but he made one payment, Li said.
A notice of cure was sent to Marano, and since he defaulted on payment, he can no longer exercise his option for the condo, Li told The Real Deal.
According to Li, the stop work orders resulting from poor construction management led to cost overruns that caused delays and financial hurdles.
Li would not comment on whether his client is actively trying to sell the site, and said he will file a motion to dismiss the suit and to cancel the lis pendens.
In September, Ozymandius, Orange Management and other partners sold a long-stalled East Village development site at 75 First Avenue to the Colonnade Group for $12.9 million. The sale marked the end of decade of infighting over the site’s development.