Brooklyn megachurch sues Thor for “putrid” leaks from Dallas BBQ

Brooklyn Tabernacle Church is seeking $10M in damages from the landlord

TRD New York /
Jan.January 03, 2020 01:45 PM
Thor Equities' Joe Sitt and 180 Livingston Street (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

Thor Equities’ Joe Sitt and 180 Livingston Street (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

A Brooklyn megachurch’s dreams of a new chapel to accommodate its 10,000 members were dashed by a leaking barbecue joint.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle is suing Thor Equities and Dallas BBQ for “catastrophic damage” to their condo unit caused by liquids emanating from the restaurant, according to a complaint.

The church had planned to construct a chapel, a computer lab and space for community classes in the more than 56,000 square feet of undeveloped subterranean space in Thor’s 180 Livingston, where Dallas BBQ is also a tenant.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (Credit: Brooklyn Tabernacle)

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (Credit: Brooklyn Tabernacle)

The leaks consisted of a mix of “putrid water, sludge and rotting food debris” that contained E. Coli and raw sewage, the complaint states, citing environmental tests. When Thor hired a plumber to fix the problem, the lawsuit alleges the leaks only subsided for a matter of hours because of the “cheap, slip-shod repairs.”

The plaintiffs also claim Thor broke the terms of their contract and carried out a “willful, malicious and unconscionable years-long delay” to withhold the deed for the condo unit from the church. The church is seeking upwards of $10 million in damages.

A spokesperson for Thor declined to comment. A source close to the landlord said the lawsuit is a dispute between the church and Dallas BBQ, and that Thor was “caught in the middle.”

Thor received a $92 refinancing from MetLife in November for the property. At the time, Thor CEO Joseph Sitt told Crain’s he was proud to have leased the property to “a variety of outstanding tenants.”

The building is not the only location where Thor is experiencing problems. Last month, Thor defaulted on 494 Broadway for allegedly seeking “unrealistic rents,” while in October, Marx Realty evicted the company from 545 Madison Avenue over unpaid rent and real estate taxes. Earlier this year, a special servicer took over Thor’s defaulted $37 million loan at 115 Mercer Street, where the firm was renegotiating a lease with retailer the Kooples.

Thor in recent months has pivoted toward the industrial sector, launching a platform over the summer called ThorLogis that aims to spend $900 million purchasing logistics properties.

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