Judge tosses suit over Apthorp condo’s descending staircase

Plaintiff claimed unwanted layout changes effectively cut unit in half

Apr.April 25, 2014 05:35 PM

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge threw out a $750,000 lawsuit against the developers of the Apthorp condominium. The suit, filed by a buyer of a $3 million commercial unit at the luxury Upper West Side landmark, claimed the apartment configuration was different than the promised layout.

The plaintiff, an entity operating under the name TZVIB, alleged that the 2,200 square foot unit included a descending staircase in the middle of the unit that was not controlled by him and basically cut the unit in half. The plaintiff plans on opening a medical office in the space.

Judge Melvin Schweitzer, in a ruling published April 22, noted that the agreement with the developers stated that the agreement was for an ‘as is’ purchase, and therefore the buyer had a responsibility to inspect the unit and make further inquiries as to the condition of the apartment.

“Instead, plaintiff should have taken the opportunity to inspect the unit prior to purchase to determine what was included in the sale,” he said, in the order.

The plaintiff acquired the commercial condo in apartment 1G in the 390 West End building for $3 million in 2011. According to court documents, the plaintiff contended that the offering plan, which is the original document that outlines the specifications for the building, included floor plans that indicated the buyer would have ownership and control over the staircase.

A second document filed with the city Department of Finance, however, was different and showed the defendant would have no control over the staircase.

According to the suit, the defendants changed the design of the apartment between the original contract signing and when the contract later closed.

Andrew Ratner, executive vice president of Broadwall Management, which manages day to day operations at the property and is a partial owner, said he had not seen the decision and had no comment. Ratner was a named defendant.

Simon Rothkrug, the attorney for the buyer, was not immediately available for comment.

The property has been mired in litigation and controversy ever since developer Maurice Mann and Israeli real estate firm Africa Israel acquired the landmark complex with plans to convert the 163-unit property into luxury condos.

In 2013, Community Board 7 rejected a proposal to build luxury penthouse apartments on the roof of the property without significant modifications.

That issue has been before the Landmarks Preservation Commission this year.

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