Volume 22, Number 29 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 27 - December 3, 2009
By Patrick Hedlund
Rector Sq. lawsuit
A group of condo owners in Battery Park City have filed a $100 million lawsuit against the developer and manager of their Rector Square building, alleging a host of misdeeds including fraud and misrepresentation.
According to a suit filed on Nov. 19 on behalf of 45 unit owners at Rector Square, the developer and managing agent of the rental-to-condo conversion failed to fully finish construction at the building, misrepresented the quality of the property and misused buyers’ payments, The Real Deal reported.
Among the other charges lodged against developer Yair Levy, broker Michael Shvo and building manager Cooper Square Realty were failure to make required payments to the Battery Park City Authority, violating zoning laws by selling and renting to improper tenants, false advertisement of the building’s amenities, and combining security and move-in deposits with the development’s general account.
Levy, the owner of YL Real Estate Developers, had defaulted on $165 million in mortgage loans for the 304-unit building, leaving about 230 units unsold, according to The Real Deal.
Retail ups and downs
Given the ongoing effects of Manhattan’s anemic real estate market, retail losses along some of Downtown’s major commercial corridors proved less dramatic than in areas across the rest of the borough.
According to the Real Estate Board of New York’s fall 2009 retail report, the average asking rent for retail space Downtown (which includes the main stretches south of 14th St.) came in at $103 per square foot, just 6 percent off the area’s average of $110 from a year ago, when the economic collapse occurred.
By comparison, average rents in Midtown South (which includes the major retail corridors between 15th and 34th Sts.) saw an 11 percent drop, falling to $99 per square foot from $111 a year ago. The Midtown and West Side markets experienced 11 and 10 percent decreases, respectively, while Manhattan as a whole slid 9 percent year-over-year.
As neighborhoods go, Soho (along Broadway between Houston and Broome Sts.) saw a 12 percent increase in average asking rents, up to $483 per square foot from $432 last year. But rents in the Financial District (along Broadway between Chambers St. and Battery Park) took a big hit, averaging $189 per square foot, a 25 percent slide from $251 a year ago.
Rents in West Village dropped by 3 percent, from $362 per square foot last year to $352, while the Meatpacking District counted a 23 percent gain, from $304 per square foot to $375.