The Daily Dirt: The “nightmare” neighbor on Broad Street

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD New York /
Apr.April 28, 2020 07:00 PM
Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Credit: Linkedin)

Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Credit: Linkedin)

A short-term rental company has been wreaking havoc on a Financial District luxury building, a new lawsuit alleges.

Two residents of 20 Broad Street claim Sonder, a hospitality startup founded in 2012, has been “the worst kind of nightmare neighbor one could imagine,” E.B. Solomont reports.

“It showed up unexpected and uninvited, trashed the place and the neighborhood, and now refuses to leave,” the residents claim in a 54-page lawsuit filed on Monday.

Sonder inked a master lease for 169 units at 20 Broad in 2018, a fact that the tenants allege the building’s owner, Metroloft Management, and leasing agent, Bond New York, failed to tell them. The complaint details “drug dealing, theft, harassment, armed robbery and assault” involving Sonder’s guests.

According to the complaint, in November, six armed men took the building’s elevator to the ninth floor, crashed a Sonder party and “viciously beat one of the attendees” with a gun before leaving the same way they came.

The lawsuit also says some building staff possess a key fob that grants access to any residence and have occasionally used it without permission, in some cases to enter apartments “when residents were engaged in extremely private and sensitive moments without clothes.” Yikes.

Not everyone agrees on what the city can and can’t do in regard to evictions. But there’s consensus that the state and federal governments need to step up.

A recently proposed City Council bill seeks to stop city sheriffs and marshals from executing money judgments and taking back property from tenants until at least September — and through April 2021 for tenants affected by Covid-19. Both the Real Estate Board of New York and the city’s sheriff testified Tuesday that they don’t believe the city has the legal authority to effectively extend the state’s moratorium on evictions.

“It is a misguided and conceivably unlawful basis by the Council to usurp state authority,” Ryan Monell, director of city legislative affairs for REBNY, said in written testimony.

While they didn’t necessarily agree with REBNY and the sheriff, elected officials acknowledged during a City Council committee hearing that their authority only goes so far in providing relief to renters and landlords. Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the state needs to temporarily suspend rent and mortgage payment obligations while the federal government should provide relief to landlords (whom the city relies on for property tax revenue).

“The city doesn’t have the resources and money to do many of the things that we know [are] the right thing to do,” Johnson said.

What we’re thinking about: What long-term design changes — aside from in offices — will result from the pandemic? Send a note to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Tuesday was for a townhouse at 143 East 21st Street in Gramercy Park, at $12.2 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an office condo at 633 Third Avenue in Midtown, at $12.5 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 59,592-square-foot residential building at 636 Hinsdale Street in Brownsville. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo unit at 322 West 57th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, at $4 million. Halstead Real Estate’s Dorothy Somekh has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

The CMBS deal that will finance Blackstone’s acquisition of the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas — a deal that has been stalled by the pandemic — is named “BX 2020-VIVA,” presumably a reference to the song popularized by Elvis Presley, “Viva Las Vegas.” Thank you to Kevin Sun, who spotted this tidbit in Bloomberg.

Elsewhere in New York

— Noise complaints have soared 22 percent compared to the same time last year, WNYC reports. The radio station analyzed 311 complaints from March to mid-April. “They were playing Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ on the keyboard, but they kept getting the notes wrong,” Bushwick’s Carson Milnarik said, describing a form of hell.

— Though Mayor Bill de Blasio has called on the MTA to shut down 10 subway stations at night to prevent the city’s homeless from congregating there, the state agency said it will instead take subway cars out of service at the end of the line, Politico New York reports. “The mayor should get out of his car and into the subways so he can see what is really going on and solve the problem of his own making,” said Abbey Collins, an MTA spokesperson.

— Dean Skelos, former state Senate leader, has been transported from prison to home custody, the New York Post reports. He tested positive for Covid-19 this month while serving a 51-month term at the Otisville minimum-security lockup in Orange County.


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