Ziel Feldman’s HFZ Capital Group is asking a Manhattan Supreme Court judge to award it access to 126 East 27th Street, a five-story residential building adjacent to the developer’s LexLofts site, so that it can begin construction on a new condominium conversion project at 90 Lexington Avenue.
Lawyers for the development firm filed for the order Tuesday. The measure would enable HFZ to install required safety protections such as vibration devices and conduct a site survey at the LexLofts site ahead of an 18-month conversion of the 13-story rental building at Lexington Avenue and East 27th Street, according to court documents.
HFZ said it plans to convert the rental property into luxury condominiums, but says the owners of the adjacent property have refused to grant access to its contractors, according to court documents.
“If the accesses requested in the project owner’s petition are not granted, the project will be delayed since the NYC Department of Buildings will not permit the renovation and expansion of the existing building located at the project premises without the temporary protections at the adjacent premises,” said Thomas Zoli, an architect at Workshop Architects, in a sworn affidavit.
Court documents show that HFZ attempted to contact the owners of 126 East 27th Street since April of this year, and were referred to the company’s lawyer, Leora Magier. They then attempted to contact her by email, eventually beginning discussions in June on obtaining access to the property.
Michael Martin, senior project manager at HFZ, noted that the owners of the adjacent property, a firm called Cathexis Realty, have expressed concern about the intrusion of steel support legs and the loss of light and air for patrons of a restaurant that operates in the rear yard commercial space at 126 East 27th Street.
However, Martin claimed in a sworn affidavit that the restaurant told him the rear yard commercial space is never used at that building for dining, but for storage. Martin claims he was told that diners use the rear yard space at 122 and 124 East 27th Street.
Court filings did not identify the restaurant, however an Italian restaurant named iTrulli is located at 122 East 27th Street. Owners of the restaurant were not immediately available for comment.
According to documents filed with the New York City Department of Finance, HFZ acquired the building in December 2013 from Westbrook Partners for $55 million.
Feldman was not immediately available for comment, and the attorney for HFZ did not return calls. Leora Magier, an attorney representing Cathexis in the case, was not immediately available for comment.