An alley famous for being the last dirt road in Manhattan is at the center of a legal dispute between Midas Management and Itzhaki Acquisitions.
The street, called Broadway Alley, is co-owned by Itzhaki and Continental Ventures, which are building an adjacent 34-story rental tower at 368 Third Avenue, and Midas Management, which owns the adjacent co-op building at 160 East 27th Street, according to the lawsuit.
Itzhaki and Continental are suing Midas over locked gates on the street that Midas was allegedly “improperly using and maintaining” in violation of multiple rulings from the Department of Buildings.
The DOB first issued an order in September 2016 that the fences on Broadway Alley would have to be removed for the city to consider it a street to meet light and air requirements at the 368 Third Avenue project, and it then deemed the gates a hazardous condition in August, as they prevent people from leaving Broadway Alley onto East 26th and 27th streets, the suit says.
Itzhaki and Continental tried multiple times to persuade Midas’ co-op building to remove the gates, but these were all unsuccessful, and at a meeting between the two sides in May, representatives from the co-op said they wanted to keep the gates because they would not be able to charge their tenants as much in rent if they were removed, as the building would then be less secure, according to the lawsuit.
However, the complaint argues that this was a false assumption, as the gate at 26th Street was often not even secure until one month ago due to it being “broken with holes in it or otherwise open.”
The co-op recently sent a letter to Itzhaki and Continental saying they would only agree to get rid of the gates if the companies agreed to a list of other demands that the lawsuit does not specify but describes as “unreasonable and costly.” As such, the companies removed the gates themselves on Sunday night and attempted to handle the security concerns by hiring in-person guards to keep the property safe, the suit says.
The lawsuit seeks to ban the Midas co-op from doing anything to restore, rebuild or replace the locked gates and to recover damages that Itzhaki and Continental have suffered due to Midas’ refusal to get rid of the gates.
Continental declined to comment. Midas, Itzhaki and attorney Michael Wolk, who represents Itzhaki and Continental, did not respond to requests for comment.
The owners of buildings near an alleyway in Tribeca between Franklin and White streets have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for abruptly regulating said alley, arguing that it is privately owned. Additionally, the co-op board at 684 Broadway in the West Village has sued Madison Realty Capital for marketing an alley by its condominium at 1 Great Jones Alley as a private driveway for condo residents even though nearby property owners own part of it.