Friedland sues UES co-op board over frozen expansion plans

Retail tenants wary of committing with 817 Madison Avenue addition in flux

817 Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side (inset, from left: William and Rick Friedland)
817 Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side (inset, from left: William and Rick Friedland)

An Upper East Side co-op board that’s dead-set against a single-story retail extension by Friedland Properties has received a lawsuit from the developer, which claims it’s losing huge sums of money due to halted construction.

Friedland received Landmarks Planning Commission approval on a single-story extension on the courtyard of the 817 Madison Avenue, between East 68th and East 69th streets on the Upper East Side. The extension would add 900 square feet of ground-floor retail space at the mixed-use building.

But the board of directors at 35 East 68th Street, who have opposed the extension for some time, succeeded in getting an appeals court to freeze construction. The move has hindered Friedland’s ability to sign retail tenants at the space, according to the family-owned developer’s lawsuit.

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Friedland says it has been unable to lease out 3,200 square feet of retail currently vacant in the building, with at least one “high-end” potential tenant wary of committing to the space while the extension is in flux. Asking retail rents in the area are roughly $1,200 per square foot, with Friedland claiming it’s losing about $320,000 a month while the space remains vacant.

Donna Karan’s flagship store previously occupied the 9,000-square-foot space until 2014, according to the New York Observer. Men’s suit-maker Isaia signed a 15-year lease earlier this year for 6,000 square feet at 817 Madison Avenue.

Lenox Hill-based Friedland recently secured a $182 million mortgage to fund a planned 17-story, Morris Adjmi-designed residential development at 7 West 21st Street in the Flatiron District. [NYO]Rey Mashayekhi