William Gottlieb Real Estate accuses architecture firm of “blackmail”

The architect previously said it was owed $450,000 and withdrew contracts from 72 projects

New York /
Jul.July 02, 2018 05:23 PM

327 Bleecker Street (Credit: Google Maps)

In an escalating saga of who-owes-what-to-who, the property management arm of William Gottlieb Real Estate has accused its former architect of “blackmail” after it severed contracts on 72 projects amid a pay dispute.

William Gottlieb, which is involved in developments in Greenwich Village, Meatpacking District and the Lower East Side, alleged that its architect threatened to withdraw from all of its contracted projects, which would lead to the “cancellation of open applications and certificates of occupancy, as well as delayed construction,” according to a court filing last week.

The claim follows an earlier suit filed by FSI Architecture last year, which alleged William Gottlieb owed $450,000 in unpaid work on multiple projects.

The two firms partnered in 2010 and worked on dozens of projects, including 327 Bleeker Street, 11 Abingdon Square, 136 Perry Street and 767 Washington Street. In 2016, however, the architect alleges that William Gottlieb began to delay payments to the firm, built up a large bill and then moved projects to another architect firm.

“We provided excellent services to them and they abused us,” James Cicalo, an FSI principal, said in an interview.

But this week, as the earlier complaint awaited further arbitration, William Gottlieb challenged the $450,000 bill to FSI and charged that the firm’s decision to submit withdraw notices to the housing department as the architect for 72 projects was a “malicious, vindictive act” that amounted to “blackmail.”

The architecture firm plans to file a separate lawsuit against another architecture firm that it says took over its William Gottlieb projects for copyright infringement, according to Cicalo, who would not provide further details.

William Gottlieb did not respond to a request for comment.

The developer was recently involved in another suit brought by a contractor. In 2016, Jepol Construction, Inc., brought a case alleging it was owed $830,000 for construction of 25 sites across the city, according to court filings. The case was later discontinued.

However, William Gottlieb has remained active, particularly in Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District. Last year it received approval, along with Aurora Capital Associates, to turn five buildings between Washington Street and Ninth Avenue into a 111,000-square-foot commercial development. The two developers recently signed a 15-year, $250 million deal with Restoration Hardware in a 60,000-square-foot space.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
 SL Green’s Marc Holliday with 450 Park Avenue  (Taconic Partners, SL Green)
TRD Pro: Here are NYC’s biggest offices sales of Q2
TRD Pro: Here are NYC’s biggest offices sales of Q2
From left: Jeff Goldberg, CEO of Fairstead, and Will Blodgett, Founder of Tredway (Getty Images, Fairstead)
Fairstead fires back, alleges Blodgett threatened to go “torched earth”
Fairstead fires back, alleges Blodgett threatened to go “torched earth”
From left: Extell's Gary Barnett and JDS Development’s Michael Stern along with One Manhattan Square, The Narrows, and 111 West 57th Street (Extell, JDS Development, Getty Images, The Narrows Condo)
New development sales plummeted 30% in July
New development sales plummeted 30% in July
Queens official Donovan Richards, Larry Silverstein and rendering of Innovation QNS (Queens Borough President, Innovation QNS, Getty)
Queens boro prez turns on industry, rejects Silverstein’s $2B project
Queens boro prez turns on industry, rejects Silverstein’s $2B project
Tavros Capital’s Nicholas Silvers and Charney Companies’ Sam Charney in front of 24-05 thru 24-19 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City (Getty Images, Tavros Capital, Charney Companies, Google Maps)
Tavros, Charney plan 55-story rental on long-stalled site
Tavros, Charney plan 55-story rental on long-stalled site
3100-3124 Atlantic Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn (Google Maps, Getty)
Locals fear homeless shelter king will gentrify East New York
Locals fear homeless shelter king will gentrify East New York
Adam Piore with the Time Warner Center, 15 Central Park West, One57, Sheffield57, and Hudson Yards (Getty, CityRealty, Pablo Costa Tirado, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
“New Kings of New York” author on 5 projects that reshaped NYC real estate
“New Kings of New York” author on 5 projects that reshaped NYC real estate
Durst Organization's Douglas Durst, Jamestown's Michael Phillips and One Times Square (Durst Organization, Jamestown, Getty, Bernt Rostad from Oslo, Norway edited by Yarl/CC BY 2.0/via Wikimedia Commons)
Durst sues Jamestown over Times Square scaffolding
Durst sues Jamestown over Times Square scaffolding
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...