Unexplained noises, occasional leaks and elevator outages are to be expected in apartment buildings from time to time. But what about when you’ve paid tens of millions of dollars to live in one of Manhattan’s trophy Billionaires’ Row towers?
Residents at 432 Park Avenue, the Rafael Viñoly-designed supertall, have experienced all of those issues, and more, since the building opened to residents in 2016, the New York Times reports.
“Everything here was camouflage,” Sarina Abramovich, an early resident who bought a $17 million unit, told the publication. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have never bought.”
Leaks have led to weeks-long elevator outages, and have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars of water damage in some tenants’ apartments. One potential buyer of a high-floor, $46 million apartment backed out of the deal because flooding damaged the unit.
The building’s height has also led to issues. In 2019, strong winds led to an elevator being stopped, trapping a resident inside for over an hour. And while the nearly 1,400-foot skyscraper is designed to move with the wind, that swaying leads to loud noises; residents reportedly complained of creaking and banging, as well as sounds “like a bomb” when trash is tossed down a garbage chute.
A group of tenants even commissioned an engineering firm, SBI Consulting, to study the building’s problems. It eventually found that “73 percent of mechanical, electrical and plumbing components observed failed to conform with the developers’ drawings,” according to the Times.
And tenants — whom one resident said “all hate each other” — are reportedly at odds on how to address the issues. That’s led to conflict of interest accusations: One recently elected member of the condo board, Jacqueline Finkelstein-Lebow of JSF Capital, is married to the chairman of Vector Group, which owns Douglas Elliman. The brokerage initially led sales for the tower, and its chairman, Howard Lorber, owns an apartment there.
Lendlease, the construction manager, said it has “been in contact” with the building’s developers, CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, about the complaints. In a statement to the Times, CIM said the building “is a successfully designed, constructed and virtually sold-out project,” and that they are “working collaboratively” with the condo board. Macklowe did not comment.
[NYT] — Sasha Jones