New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

LEGAL/FINANCIAL

HOW LEGAL/FINANCIAL PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED BY NYC CO-OPS AND CONDOS

Lawsuit Claims Condo Board Lagging on Facade Fix

Upper East Side, Manhattan

Wall Collapse Lawsuit

The St. Tropez, the city's first condominium, where a wall collapsed in 2015 (image via Google Maps).

Jan. 25, 2018

It was the sort of event that gives co-op and condo boards sleepless nights: in December 2015, hundreds of bricks came loose from the facade of the 300-unit condo at 340 East 64th Street and crashed to the street. No one was injured or killed. 

But the story is not over. Six unit-owners, calling themselves the Committee of Concerned Unit-Owners of the St. Tropez Condominium, have filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming that facade repairs are still incomplete and that the condo board levied $6.8 million in assessments to gut-renovate the building’s lobby and 14th-floor social room, the Daily News reports. The suit blames former board president Christopher Klein and former board vice president Sandeep Patel for prioritizing the interior renovations over the well-being of New Yorkers on the streets below. The building’s terrace and pool have remained closed since the wall collapse. 

“In spite of the ongoing serious threat to public safety and condition of the building… Klein and Patel repeatedly failed to address the facade repair issues,” the suit says. 

At the time of the wall collapse, facade work was under way at the St. Tropez. The project’s engineer, Gene Ferrara of JMA Consultants, told Habitat that the collapse resulted from faulty construction work. "There was an original construction defect,” Ferrara said, “and the wall let loose." JMA is no longer employed by the condo board. 

Opened in 1965, the 35-story St. Tropez was the city’s first condominium building. But initial sales were “sluggish,” according to the New York Times, and the developer was forced to sell off apartments at reduced prices. Today apartments sell in the $2 million range.

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