NJ condo buyers sue LeFrak over noise

By Adam Pincus | May 20, 2009 05:15PM

Shore Condominium Residences

Recent buyers of a $650,000 two-bedroom condominium unit in a new LeFrak Organization residential tower in Jersey City say a powerful noise emanating from a neighboring commuter train transformer makes their master bedroom uninhabitable.

Apartment owner Theodore Lee accuses the developer, the sales brokerage and others of not telling him about a noise affecting his unit in the North Tower of the Shore Condominium Residences at Newport that he said has forced him to use his larger bedroom as a storage room.

Lee and his wife, whose name he requested not be published, filed suit in Hudson County Superior Court April 21, charging the LeFrak Organization, Metropolitan & Waterfront Residential Brokerage, two individual brokers and other entities with violating a consumer fraud statute, breach of contract, misrepresentation and other charges.

“It sounds like a sub-woofer. It is a constant, low-frequency type of noise that at its worst you can feel,” Lee said in an interview.

Lee, his wife and their first child — a son born Tuesday — are the residents of the apartment.

The LeFrak Organization developed the 24-story building at 1 Shore Lane near the Hudson River facing Lower Manhattan as part of a larger $10 billion commercial and residential development begun in the 1980s. Next to the tower, opened in 2008, is a Path train electrical power station, which has been there since 1990, a Port Authority spokesman said.  

The noise was not apparent during the sales process, the complaint says. The couple closed on the 12th-floor, $654,000 condo November 14, 2008, and moved in the following day.

“From the first night the plaintiffs moved into the unit through the present, [the] plaintiffs have experienced loud, intrusive, invasive, disturbing, vibrating noise,” the complaint says.

The couple is seeking termination of its contract and return of the purchase price with interest and compensatory damages, the complaint says.

Lee and his wife are not the only people in the building to complain about the noise. Felipe Colon, who closed on a nearby unit in May 2008 in the building, sent the LeFrak Organization a letter in February asking what remedial actions would be taken.

The LeFrak Organization and the Metropolitan & Waterfront Residential Brokerage did not respond to requests for comment.

In a February 2009 letter to Colon’s attorney, the LeFrak Organization said two residents had complained.  

“Please understand that the seller was unaware of this situation until several months after the closing with your client. Indeed, the seller conducted noise tests prior to construction that did not reveal any problem,” the letter, provided by Colon to The Real Deal, said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesperson Steve Coleman said the LeFrak Organization first raised the issue of the noise with the agency in February this year.

“We are working with the LeFrak Organization on a study to determine the source of the noise,” he said, but he did not have a date by which any results would be released.