Try, try again: Saudi investor sues Harry Macklowe again over 432 Park retail

Hamza Al Kholi alleges he was stiffed on a 2% equity stake
By E.B. Solomont | January 04, 2017 04:10PM

From left: 432 Park Avenue, Harry Macklowe and Hamza Al Kholi (credit: DBOX for CIM Group/Macklowe Properties)

A Saudi investor who claims Harry Macklowe cut him out of a joint venture to buy 432 Park Avenue’s retail space is suing the developer — again.

After failing to resolve the spat in New York State Court, Hamza Al Kholi has filed a federal suit alleging that he helped the developer line up financing to buy 432 Park’s TRData LogoTINY valuable retail space, but later was pushed out of the deal and stiffed on the 2 percent equity stake he was promised. In this suit, Al Kholi seeks $9 million.

A businessman with vast holdings in the Middle East, Al Kholi previously sued Macklowe on the same grounds in New York State Supreme Court. The case went into mediation last January, but talks failed last month, according to the latest suit.

Macklowe and Qatari financial services firm QInvest closed on the deal to buy 432 Park’s retail condos for $411.1 million in June, nearly two years after entering contract with CIM Group, Macklowe’s co-developer on the supertall tower.

In the federal suit, Al Kholi claims to have contacted QInvest on behalf of Macklowe and arranged meetings for the two in early 2014. But according to the suit, Macklowe and QInvest “soon moved to exclude” Al Kholi from the deal by lowering Al Kholi’s fee to 0.5 percent of the amount raised. Later, QInvest demanded to be Macklowe’s only partner on the deal, excluding Al Kholi entirely, the suit claims.

Adding insult to injury, the suit says that in April 2014, shortly after Macklowe and QInvest’s deal was reported in the press, Macklowe contacted Al Kholi — not to discuss compensation, but to push the businessman to purchase a residence in the building.

Representatives for Macklowe said the developer could not be reached for comment.

The property will hold roughly 56,000 square feet of retail space, and will feature a glass cube reminiscent of Apple’s iconic store entrance to the GM Building.

Condo buyers at the supertall tower began closing on their units last year, and accounted for five of the city’s 10 priciest closed sales in 2016, including the building’s $87.7 million penthouse, which Saudi billionaire Fawaz Al Hokair reportedly bought in September.