The Real Deal New York

Toll Bros. sues contractors at One Northside Piers for $10 million

April 13, 2012 06:15PM
By Adam Pincus

From left: Executive Chairman of the Board of Toll Brothers Robert Toll, L&M Development CEO Ron Moelis and One Northside Piers

Toll Brothers City Living, part of a development team that built the trendy but troubled Williamsburg condominium tower One Northside Piers, is suing two contractors for $10 million, claiming water is leaking around the 29-story building’s windows.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in New York State Supreme Court, comes just over a year after the New York Post reported a group of tenants at the 177-unit building complained about “shoddy” construction. Toll Brothers at the time downplayed the allegations, although it acknowledged there were problems.

Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers, along with L&M Development Partners and RD Management, were the developers and sponsors of the condominium building One Northside Piers, at 4 North 5th Street, which was completed in 2008.

The sponsors, under the formal name of the development entity Kent Avenue Property 1-B LLC, filed suit yesterday against the established Canadian firm Allan Window Technologies, as well as Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction, based in Scarsdale, N.Y., claiming the windows and their installation were defective.

The suit says the windows were warranted for seven years to be water tight and weather tight, but allegedly they are not.

A source familiar with the project said Allan Windows has attempted to repair the windows, but the results were not satisfactory, resulting in the suit.

“Owner has incurred and will continue to incur costs, expenses and losses associated with repair and/or replacement of the window wall systems in an amount in excess of $10 million,” the suit says.

Kenneth Roberts, a member of the law firm Cozen O’Connor, who represented the developers, declined to comment. Toll Brothers and L&M Development declined to comment. RD Management, Allan Windows and Kreisler Borg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barry LePatner, a partner at the construction law firm LePatner & Associates who was not familiar with the suit, said with the decline in building activity, investigators from the state’s attorney general’s office have fewer new projects to oversee. That gives them more time to scrutinize the complaints that do arrive in general. As a result, sponsors want to show they are being proactive in fixing the problems, even as a suit such as this is an acknowledgment that the building has a major flaw.

“Developers like Toll want to show that they are doing the right thing by the people they are selling to when there is an obvious defect. They are doing the right thing, and in this kind of marketplace it is the smart thing to do,” LePatner said.

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