The Real Deal New York

Thor battles condo board over signage

Fifth Avenue Tower held sign “hostage,” developer says

January 10, 2013 05:30PM
By David Jones

Joe Siit and Fifth Avenue Tower (Building image c/o CityRealty)

Thor Equities won a temporary restraining order against Fifth Avenue Tower. The order, issued late Wednesday, blocks the condominium board at the 33-story apartment building from taking down Thor’s signs from the retail space that it owns at the property.

In the Jan. 8 lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Thor — the Manhattan-based development firm led by investor Joseph Sitt — says it acquired the 17,000-square-foot retail space at 445 Fifth Avenue, at 39th Street, for $32.5 million in December 2011; the signs were installed the following May. Thor said it owns 23 other buildings in Manhattan, and that its trademarked name and horse-head logo are prominently displayed on all of the buildings, except two that are landmarked and require regulatory approval, which it is attempting to obtain.

The board sent a May 24 letter complaining about the signs, claiming the exterior façade was a “general common element” and any signage required board approval. However, Thor insisted that it owned the space and did not need board approval. Thor claims the board “stole” the signs in September 2012 and held them “hostage,” before the firm was able to retrieve them.

The signs were reinstalled on Tuesday and the parties will face off on Jan. 30, according to court records. A spokesman for Thor did not have any immediate comment. Sitt was not available for comment. Herb Cohen, attorney for the condo, declined comment.

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