The Real Deal New York

Pair of developers facing third lawsuit — but similar allegations

L Lofts condo sues American Development, Langsam Property for alleged construction defects

June 24, 2014 12:45PM
By David Jones

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1610-dekalb

1610 DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn

The developers of the L Lofts condominium in Brooklyn are facing an $8 million lawsuit for allegedly failing to correct extensive construction defects in the building, including water leaks, defective roof construction and other alleged code violations.

The suit, which was filed by the L Lofts’ board on June 19 in Brooklyn Supreme Court, targets developers American Development Group, based in West Hempstead, N.Y., and Langsam Property Services of the Bronx. The board alleges, among other things, that the two developers breached their contract and committed fraud and fraudulent conveyance of funds.

Perry Finkelman, partner and managing director at American Development Group, calls the allegations baseless.

“The building, a number of years ago, was hit by a tornado,” said Finkelman. “While there may be issues, they weren’t properly addressed at the time. That’s not a sponsor’s responsibility to handle.”

The five-story building at 1610 DeKalb Avenue in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn is the third boutique property by the developer to face such allegations.

In March, the board at the Park Union, a 15-unit building at 910 Union Street in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, raised charges about water leaks and other construction defects in that building. Those charges led the developers to file suit in Brooklyn Supreme Court in May demanding access to inspect the alleged damage.

The development team took over the Park Union in 2010 from its original developer, Yachad Enterprises.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for June 27.

Likewise, the board at the Baxter Street condominium at 123 Baxter Street in Manhattan filed suit in 2010 against the developers, including American Development and Langsam Property, alleging negligence, widespread construction defects and other issues.

At the Baxter Street property, a seven-story newly constructed condo in the Little Italy section, the unit owners alleged problems with water infiltration, a lack of fire stopping and other alleged code violations.

“In all three of the buildings represented by my firm, the sponsor has wholly failed and refused to address the defects in each of them,” said Steven Sladkus, an attorney at Wolf Haldenstein who is representing the L Lofts board. “In my opinion, it is a shame and a travesty that he gets away with this.”

Finkelman denied the additional allegations and accused Wolf Haldenstein of a pattern of allegations regarding construction defects at various condos.

Mark Engel, president of Langsam, said the responses by Finkelman would stand for his company as well.

The two firms have been very active in New York real estate in recent years. In 2013, the companies sold a site at 215-219 West 28th Street in Chelsea for $50 million, which is expected to be converted into a 147-unit residential tower.

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