Condo owners at one of downtown’s most high-profile luxury buildings say the property is not all it was cracked up to be.
The condominium association at 15 Union Square West has filed a $5 million lawsuit against developer Brack Capital Real Estate eight years after the building first launched sales, alleging that the firm did not deliver the quality of units it promised when residents originally signed their contracts.
Instead, it sold them “units and systems with immediate life, health and safety problems, in dilapidated condition, improperly designed and constructed, including a multitude of design and construction defects,” according to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in State Supreme Court.
The building’s roof has been leaking, the ninth-floor common terrace was never landscaped and the electrical service to the building is patchy, among many other problems, residents claim. In addition to the $5 million judgment, they’re demanding that Brack renovate the 36-unit building and fix the problems.
The association says it could not take legal action against the sponsor until now because principals from Brack had controlled the association’s board.
Brack CEO Isaac Hera is named as a defendant in the suit along with Moshe Azogui, a former principal at the firm.
““We stand behind our product and are very proud of it,” said a spokesperson for Brack. “Our top priority, as always, is the quality of our product and the well-being of our customers and employees. These allegations are a surprise to us as we have not received complaints from 15USW owners or the board, which we have not been a part of for the past two years. We intend to investigate the situation and react accordingly.”
Brack bought the former Tiffany & Co. and Amalgamated Bank building, at East 15th Street and Union Square West, in 2006 for $80 million and proceeded to replace its original cast-iron façade with a tinted glass skin.
Some of its original buyers had to back out of their contracts once the market crashed in 2008. There are four active listings at 15 Union Square West, with asking prices ranging from $3.5 million to $12 million, according to StreetEasy.
Meanwhile, Brack is still active on the condo front. It’s planning to bring 29 condo units to 627 Greenwich Street, according to an offering plan filed this fall.