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Fifth Avenue Co-ops Sued for Blocking Access Agreement

Upper East Side

Access Lawsuit

The owner of the small building in the middle has sued his two neighboring co-ops. (image via Google Maps)

June 23, 2017

Co-op and condo boards are frequently advised to act like good neighbors when a nearby property requests access to their building to perform renovations, mandated Local Law 11 facade work, or new construction. It’s possible to negotiate tantalizing concessions when working out an access agreement. And what goes around comes around: one day that board might need access to the building next door.

Don’t tell that to the residents of the two co-ops that flank the former French consulate at 1143 Fifth Avenue. They have refused to allow crews to enter their buildings to do city-approved safety work as a part of renovations to the former consulate, which Jean Claude Marian bought in 2014 for $36.4 million. He got the city to approve a plan to replace the existing eighth-floor penthouse with a 21-foot-tall one — with two levels — that will be roughly 8 feet taller than the existing one-story home. The neighboring co-ops were not pleased.

Their unneighborly behavior has led Marian’s LLC to file suit in state Supreme Court against the 1148 Corporation and the 1140 Tenants Corporation for not letting workers in those buildings to do protective work, like pre-construction surveys, building monitoring and installation of scaffolding, DNAinfo reports. Both co-ops, which testified against the renovation last year, have "engaged in obstructionist and stall tactics for over eight months, and have refused to enter into a licensing agreement that would allow [1143 Fifth Avenue LLC.] access to install the protective work and commence the project," the suit says. "Respondents have no intention of voluntarily entering into a licensing agreement." This despite the fact that Marian has offered numerous concessions, such as agreeing to put in sound dampening equipment and paying $5,000 toward the co-ops’ engineering fees.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the two co-ops need access to 1143 Fifth Avenue to do their next cycles of mandated facade work. What goes around, after all, tends to come around.

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