The Real Deal New York

The most expensive tenant relocation in NYC history

March 02, 2014 11:00AM

 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

  • tsk tsk

    but it was worth it, right? I like how peaceful and civilized this was – no sordid murder or mudslinging or any other acts of violence emotional or otherwise including no tenant sabotage.

  • better than LOTTO

    wow, why not donate those payolas to fund affordable housing since affordable housing has done so much for them!

  • stay, it’s your “home”

    Why did he cave? Was he yearning for a spa tub?

  • bamboozle

    Doesn’t this payoff contradict the position of affordable housing advocates? Shouldn’t there be a law that because we provide affordable housing and you are the beneficiary through no outlay or effort of the tenant, then the person who is footing the bill should decide the location of your apartment?

    Isn’t that actually a law somewhere that the landlord is permitted to move a regulated tenant to a nearby building if the apartment is at least as good as the old one?

    So does this mean that this story is faked?