In 2004, when developers Will and Arthur Zeckendorf set out to create 15 Central Park West, one man stood in their way: a 73-year-old recluse named Herb Sukenik, who refused to move from the Mayflower Hotel. And his relocation may very well be the most expensive in New York history.
In Michael Gross’s new book on 15 Central Park West, “House of Outrageous Fortune,” he reveals that most rent-controlled residents of the Mayflower walked away early with million dollar paychecks. But Sukenik wouldn’t budge, according to the New York Post.
Will Zeckendorf describes him as, “Hugely intelligent, a Ph.D., unmarried, embittered, a loner, disconnected from society, and too smart for his own good. He was not a poor man; he had independent means.”
When approached by the developers, Sukenik said, “I don’t want money. I just want a new apartment with a park view.”
The Zeckendorfs offered him a 2,200-square-foot, two-bedroom unit on the 16th floor of Essex House, which they would retain ownership of, but Sukenik declined the deal and asked for much more.
The eviction process may have taken years, but ultimately Sukenik caved, taking the $2 million apartment in Essex House and what one source said was a $17 million check.
Will Zeckendorf said that it was “by far the highest price ever paid to [relocate] a single tenant in the city of New York.” [NYP] – Christopher Cameron