The Real Deal New York

995 Fifth board files $5M suit vs. Extell, Westbrook

By David Jones | January 15, 2014 04:10PM

The board at 995 Fifth Avenue filed a $5 million suit against Extell Development and Westbrook Partners, alleging breach of contract and fraud in the construction, marketing and sale of apartments at the luxury co-op building.

The building, the former Stanhope Hotel across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is widely considered one of the top co-op buildings in New York. The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by 995 Fifth Avenue Owners Corp. on Jan. 9, also alleges fraud and misrepresentation on the part of architect Centra/Ruddy in the design of the property and Corcoran Group in the sale of units at the building.

“I expect we are going to be able to amicably settle this matter with the Extell entity,” said Wolf Haldenstein attorney Jeffrey Reich, representing the board.

An Extell representative, however, said the complaint is without merit.

“Westbrook sold their interest in the property in 2007,” a spokesman for the firm. “They expect to be indemnified by the current ownership, should they get served.”

It’s not the first lawsuit alleging that the building had construction issues.

Joseph Plumeri, then CEO of Willis Holdings, filed suit in 2012 claiming Extell refused to reimburse most of his costs related to defective waterproofing, firestopping and soundproofing at the building. Plumeri demanded $3 million in reimbursements, plus $9 million in punitive damages.

Plumeri acquired the 8,000 square foot apartment on the 15th case after four months of litigation.

He later listed the apartment for $32 million.