The Real Deal New York

Macklowe sues ex-737 Park owner over unit upgrade

By David Jones | January 16, 2014 06:00PM

Developer Harry Macklowe is dragging Arlene Katz, a tenant at 737 Park Avenue, Into Court to force her to allow contractors to upgrade her apartment. Katz is a member of the family that previously owned the luxury condo conversion building.

The developer, in a suit filed Jan. 14 in Manhattan Supreme Court, claims that Katz, a tenant in a 19th-floor apartment, has refused to let the landlord replace windows and risers, despite a pledge to put her up at a hotel and protect her against a rent hike.

“As [Katz] and her family are and have been well aware, landlord purchased the building for the express purpose of renovating portions of the building and sponsoring a condominium conversion plan,” said Ian Klein, development associate at Macklowe Properties, in an affidavit.

Macklowe and CIM Group acquired the former rental building from the Katz family for $250 million in 2011.

Lawyers are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 28.

Macklowe, who filed suit against the Katz family in March over their alleged failure to notify him of existing problems at the building, claims that Arlene Katz is the only remaining tenant refusing to grant him access to an apartment. That case was settled in November, according to attorney Howard Elman, who represented the Katz family.

Macklowe has been in court with several other tenants over the past year, including plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Jetter, who is facing eviction after he previously filed a $14 million suit against Macklowe claiming the construction damaged his medical office.

Attorney Joseph Heppt, who represents Jetter in the eviction case, says that his client won a partial rent abatement, but that both the eviction and the damage claims are still winding through the system. He claims that Macklowe just wants to force his client out of the building, because the space is listed in the conversion plan filed with state regulators as generating $3.1 million in a potential sale.

“Dr. Jetter feels very strongly that not only is the construction activity having a negative effect on his practice, but it’s become clear over the past year that the landlord seems intent on having Dr. Jetter out,” said Heppt.

Macklowe also previously filed suit against broker Carol Cohen, Asking The Court to examine her tax returns to determine whether she was hiding income.

“It was resolved to my client’s satisfaction,” said attorney Peter Moulinos, representing Cohen.

Macklowe also sued former tenant Elizabeth Murray, after claiming that she was renting out her apartment, and then withdrew the suit.

Macklowe declined to comment, through a spokesperson.