Lawsuit: Pet Smart’s animal excrement is stinking up this $11K-a-month apartment

The retailer opened its doors beneath the plaintiff’s home in 2018

New York /
Sep.September 03, 2019 02:30 PM
10 Madison Square West (Credit: StreetEasy, iStock, Pixabay)

10 Madison Square West (Credit: StreetEasy, iStock, Pixabay)

When a family agreed to pay $11,000 a month for an apartment at 10 Madison Square West in 2017, they could not have imagined that the luxury pad would soon be filled with a mix of toxic smells and gases from animal waste, a new lawsuit claims.

Plaintiffs Howard and Meg Kahn, along with their children, now want $3 million in damages.

The Kahns and their landlords Cheolsoon and Christina Jang, who rented the apartment to the Kahns from September 2017 to August 2018, could not be reached for comment. The Kahn’s attorney and Witkoff Group, the building’s developer, did not reply to messages seeking comment, and property manager Douglas Elliman declined to comment.

The Kahns allege in their complaint that their second-floor home had numerous maintenance failures and defects, including an uncapped industrial sewer vent gas pipe for PetSmart, which opened in the ground-floor retail space in April 2018. This open pipe “began directing gas emitted from rodent excrement and urine, tropical fish excrement, reptile excrement and bird excrement, all from PetSmart, into Plaintiffs’ home,” the complaint states.

Additional sewage gas pipes surrounding the unit also were left open, the complaint claims. Noxious sewer gases from feces and urine allegedly leaked into the apartment and spewed from their air conditioning unit. On top of the fumes and odors, the apartment’s sinks, shower and toilets also allegedly flooded, causing more damage to the home.

Last summer, the Kahns moved out of their unit and shuffled among hotels, alleging the defendants did not offer alternative housing. The plaintiffs also allege in their lawsuit that because of the fumes in their home, they also are experiencing health problems ranging from chest pain to respiratory issues.

In 2014, Savanna acquired the retail portion that PetSmart occupies from Witkoff for $56.5 million. Three years later, Savanna sold it off for $98 million to Nuveen, the rebranded real estate arm of TIAA.

The upper portion of the 24-story building, which sits at the corner of 24th Street, has 125 luxury condos. The conversion was a project from Witkoff and partner Howard Lorber’s New Valley.

Units at the property that appear to be on the market range from about $2 million for a one-bedroom condo to $13.5 million to a three-bedroom home, according to StreetEasy.


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