Hudson Rise disputes put Compass contract in jeopardy

Brokerage may lose its right to market resi condos at 47-story tower

TRD NEW YORK /
Mar.March 20, 2015 02:35 PM

Residential brokerage Compass could become a casualty of the legal hullabaloo at Hudson Rise, if the partnership between the project’s three development firms turns to dust.

Compass could lose a major contract to market the residential units at the 47-story, 420,000-square-foot property, being developed by a partnership between Kuafu Properties, Siras Development and BlackHouse Development at 462-470 11th Avenue in the Hudson Yards area.

The tower, designed by the Archilier Architecture, is expected to have 242 hotel rooms, 108 condo hotel  rooms and 47 residential condo units.

In June 2014, after the joint venture purchased the site, Siras principals Ashwin Verma and Saif Sumaida hired Compass as the broker for some of the residential condominium units, which are slated to be priced between $6 and $8 million.

[vision_pullquote style=”1″ align=””] The contract with Compass “was so disingenuous as to bring to mind the famous moment in Casablanca when Captain Renault professes to be ‘shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!’ immediately before being handed his winnings.” [/vision_pullquote]

In a lawsuit Siras filed Thursday against Kuafu in New York State Supreme Court, Siras alleges that when Kuafu’s principal, Shang Dai, got word of the Compass agreement in January, he sent an email to Verma and Sumaida saying he was “totally shocked” to find out they entered into an agreement without any notice to him.

Siras claims in the lawsuit that Dai’s reaction to finding out about the contract with Compass “was so disingenuous as to bring to mind the famous moment in Casablanca when Captain Renault professes to be ‘shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!’ immediately before being handed his winnings.” (Editor’s note: The last few months have seen several lawsuits that manage to slip in some memorable show-business references — see here and here.)

Sumaida alleges he and Dai previously discussed hiring Debra LaChance from Corcoran, but in the midst of negotiating her contract, she moved to Compass. Siras ended up hiring LaChance along with Compass president Leonard Steinberg to exclusively market the condos — after earlier receiving consent from Kuafu, Sumaida claims.

Representatives for Compass, formerly known as Urban Compass, declined to comment.

In a petition Kuafu filed in court in February to dissolve its partnership with Siras and BlackHouse, Kuafu claims it planned to sell the residential units directly to investors in China, rather than have a New York-based brokerage market them.

However, Siras claims Kuafu’s objections to the Compass agreement was one of many attempts to take Siras out of the deal and develop the property alone.


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