The Real Deal New York

Moinian hit with $100M lawsuit over Atelier amenity access

Condo board claims developer broke terms of 2007 offering plan

March 08, 2016 11:33AM
By Katherine Clarke

Joseph Moinian and the Atelier condominium

Joseph Moinian and the Atelier condominium

Owners of apartments at the Atelier condominium on West 42nd Street have filed a $100 million lawsuit against Joseph Moinian’s Moinian Group, the developer of the property, alleging the company is illegally preventing them from accessing the building’s amenities. Moinian, however calls the claims “meritless.”

The board of managers at the condo, at 635 West 42nd Street, claims Moinian, who hung on to ownership of the building’s common spaces after selling the sponsor units, has permanently blocked the residents’ access to the building’s pool and fitness center. Instead, direct access to the amenities is being reserved for residents of the developer’s new high-end rental building next door, dubbed Sky, the board alleges.

Meanwhile, the gym, which will be taken over by third-party operator Life Fitness, will also be open to non-residents for the first time, the suit states.

A representative for the board at the Atelier, which is headed by real estate broker Daniel Neiditch, declined to comment on the litigation, saying the lawsuit “speaks for itself.”

A spokesperson for Moinian called the suit “utterly without merit” and said the plaintiff has “a history of filing baseless lawsuits.”

“Key elements are demonstrably false and are entirely inconsistent with the condominium’s offering documents,” the spokesperson said. “The gym will serve as a highly desirable public amenity and memberships will be available to the public at large and residents at both buildings.”

The entrance to the gym from the Atelier has allegedly been boarded up and lockers have been installed against the doors, permanently blockading the entrance, according to the suit.

Blocking access to the gym represents a direct breach of contract and is in violation of the building’s original offering plan, which dates back nine years, the board claims in the lawsuit. The offering plan also prescribed that residents of the Atelier would have reciprocal access to amenities at Sky, which has also not been delivered, the board said.

The Atelier’s condo owners are now seeking an injunction to prevent the blocking of direct access to the gym and pool and to open access to amenities at Sky, located at 605 West 42nd Street.

“The amenity package that unit owners paid for as part of their unit contracts is part of a lifestyle they sought out and contracted for,” the legal complaint reads. “As such, its deprivation cannot be adequately measured or safely compensated with money damages.”

The Atelier was built in 2007 and has a total of 478 condo units. An $85 million apartment currently on the market at the property reportedly comes with a $1 million yacht, two Rolls Royce Phantoms and $2 million in credits to renovate the unit.

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