Condo owners at the Printing House complex in the West Village are suing the project’s former developer for unpaid common charges.
Mountbatten Equities, which bought the former industrial property at 421 Hudson Street in 1975 and converted it into apartments, hasn’t been keeping up with the bills for 11 commercial condos it owns. The board claims it’s owed $786,295, according to a complaint filed this week in New York State Supreme Court.
The board filed liens on the 11 units in January and is now suing to foreclose in order to collect the funds owed, as well as interest and all fees associated with the suit.
Equinox, which leases 30,000 square feet from Mountbatten, is named as a defendant in the suit, as is Mountbatten principal Barnet Liberman.
It’s unclear why Mountbatten isn’t paying its bills. Most of the unpaid fees began piling up in 2020, but for five of its units, common charges haven’t been paid since as early as January 2019, records show. Liberman declined to comment.
Commercial condo owners have been falling behind on their common charges during the pandemic as retailers closed during lockdowns or operate with reduced services. That’s disrupted rent collection for commercial landlords who, in some cases, have stopped paying common charges they owe.
When the owners of commercial units stop those payments, residential owners have to make up the difference unless they’re able to recover the fees. In the case of the Printing House, which has 105 units, covering Mountbatten’s common charges would mean an additional $7,488.50 per unit if split evenly.
The Printing House has been a condominium for decades but most of the units operated as rentals until 2011, when Mountbatten sold the building for $70 million to a venture including Angelo Gordon & Co. and Belvedere Capital Real Estate Partners. Mountbatten retained an undisclosed stake in the condo’s profits and a role in managing the building, according to the Wall Street Journal.