It’s David versus Goliath on 57th Street. An antiques shop is battling to stop billionaire Sheldon Solow’s planned luxury condo tower and hired one of the city’s most notorious tenant attorneys to help it.
Solow recently began demolition work on a series of Buildings Across The Street from its office tower 9 West 57th Street, with plans to build the latest condominium on Billionaires’ Row. But first he will have to get rid of the lone holdout tenant at 10 West 57th Street, Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques, which is paying $283,000 a month in rent.
Solow issued a five-day notice terminating the shop’s lease in June, claiming it violated the terms of its lease in part by illegally selling ivory. But Metropolitan, through its lawyer David Rozenholc, contests the eviction, claiming Solow put up scaffolding solely to force the tenant out.
“The scaffolding was put in place for one reason,” Rozenholc told the New York Times, “so customers don’t come in. He obviously wants to develop the site, so they decided to create some leverage to push the tenant out.” The attorney gained fame in the 1980s when he stopped Donald Trump from evicting tenants at 100 Central Park South.
Solow, who is 89 and both famously litigious and patient, bought the first parcel of the assemblage in the 1970s and added two more parcels in 2007, according to the Times. Last year he paid Gary Barnett $128 million for a site at 16 West 57th Street and then hired Skidmore Owings & Merrill to design a 54-story hotel and condo tower.