Macklowe’s 737 Park Avenue backs off bed-and-breakfast lawsuit

From left: Harry Macklowe, 737 Park Avenue and Elizabeth Murray
From left: Harry Macklowe, 737 Park Avenue and Elizabeth Murray

The developers of 737 Park Avenue, a new condo conversion project led by real estate mogul Harry Macklowe, are ending a legal fight with a tenant who they claimed was illegally running a bed and breakfast out of her apartment, The Real Deal has learned.

Macklowe filed a motion in Manhattan Supreme Court to voluntarily withdraw their lawsuit against long-time tenant Elizabeth Murray.

Lawyers for Murray are perplexed by the abrupt move; they had been preparing a challenge to the allegations.

“It’s hard to believe they would just withdraw a suit like that even before they got an answer,” said Bob Grimble of Grimble & LoGuidice which is representing Murray.

Neither lawyers nor a spokesman for Macklowe could be reached immediately for comment.

Macklowe also sued Murray last summer in Housing Court, alleging she illegally made changes to her apartment.  The Department of Buildings inspected Murray’s home and found that Murray had made no illegal alterations, Robin LoGuidice, Grimble’s partner, told The Real Deal.

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LoGuidice speculated that the developers might be trying to push Murry out of the building so her apartment can be included in a multimillion-dollar unit sale.

“He’s looking to market high-end luxury apartments, large ones” LoGuidice told TRD. “Everything is vacant and gutted around her.”

As TRD previously reported, Macklowe and CIM Group acquired the 21-story rental building in 2011 for $360 million, the most expensive deal for a residential building since the 2007 purchase of the Apthorp by Africa Israel and Mann Realty.

Macklowe plans to convert the building, which has 103 apartments and six commercial spaces, into luxury condos but is in litigation with several parties.

In December, a prominent plastic surgeon filed a $14 million lawsuit against Macklowe alleging the construction at 737 Park Avenue had flooded his practice and blocked access to his facilities.

Macklowe Properties denied the allegations in court papers filed this week.