CIM hits back at board’s allegations in 432 Park lawsuit

Developer insists Billionaires’ Row condo tower is “without a doubt, safe”

CIM Group principal Shaul Kuba, Macklowe Properties Chief Executive Officer Harry Macklowe and 432 Park Ave (432 Park Avenue, CIM Group, Getty Images)
CIM Group principal Shaul Kuba, Macklowe Properties Chief Executive Officer Harry Macklowe and 432 Park Ave (432 Park Avenue, CIM Group, Getty Images)

Developer CIM Group hit back at an explosive lawsuit from the condo board at 432 Park Avenue, its luxury supertall where residents have alleged widespread construction defects.

In legal documents filed in New York Supreme Court Wednesday, the developer called the board’s lawsuit “ill-advised” and dismissed it as a “publicity campaign.”

The board sued the developers of the Billionaires’ Row tower in September for issues related to flooding, broken elevators, noise from the building’s sway and a June electrical explosion. The damages claim is based on approximately 1,500 construction and design problems found by an engineering firm the board hired to inspect the building.

The lawsuit raised eyebrows because it escalated previously reported complaints over a wide range of issues with the building’s design and construction.

Harry Macklowe, CIM’s co-developer on the building, did not file a response. In its filing, CIM said the building was “without a doubt, safe” and called its “amenities, features, fixtures and finishings … the pinnacle of luxury.”

The board alleges a variety of problems with the building, including “life safety” issues. Residents said on several occasions they were trapped in elevators for hours after the building’s sway caused them to stall. The suit said the building’s movement caused overwhelming noise and floods from defective plumbing caused damage in 35 units and common areas.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Read more

“Of course, like any other skyscraper, 432 Park’s sophisticated symphony of systems needed to be fine-tuned when residents began to move into the building,” the developer said.

However, CIM claimed the board repeatedly prevented the developer “from accessing the building and finishing the job.” The firm also took issue with the board’s “an ever-increasing list of demands,” the majority of which were not required under the building’s design, code or governing legal document. As a result, the developer says, the complaint should be dismissed.

The filing is the latest for the closely watched skyscraper, which opened in 2015 to much interest in its striking design and sky-high price points. That attention turned to controversy after The New York Times detailed tenants’ gripes in a February story titled “The Downside to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks.”

Despite the building’s reported issues and the board’s subsequent legal action, the condo tower has remained popular with wealthy clientele, according to recent sales and agents who previously told The Real Deal the controversies haven’t hurt interest in available units.

The building can boast some of the priciest units in the world, which the widely covered complaints don’t appear to have hurt. Two current listings show a 96th-floor unit asking $169 million and one on the 79th seeking $135 million, placing the condos above pricing precedent but in good company on Billionaires’ Row.