HABITAT

MIDTOWN WEST

Atelier condo unit-owners file complaint against condo board.

While we wait to hear whether Demi Moore's swank Central Park West penthouse sells for $75 million, setting an Upper West Side co-op record, a condo at One57 on Billionaires' Row got a bit of love on CNN Money. Purchased on December 23, the two-level duplex penthouse set a mystery buyer back $100,471,452.77. The record-breaking sum is reportedly the highest price paid for a residence in New York City. That certainly sets the bar high for luxury condos. So what does the mystery buyer get? Breathtaking views of Central Park, access to in-room dining and spa services, a swimming pool, and cleaning and dog-walking amenities. What's a few million among the mega-rich, though? Any bets on when that record's broken?

First it was a skating rink. Then it was a music venue. Now it's a pile of rubble. The Roseland Ballroom, which moved a block over to its still convenient location at 239 West 52nd Street in 1956, closed its doors for good a year and a day ago today. Its demolition, now in its eighth month, has been as slow as its history has been rich. But like so much of old New York, it has to make way for the new and shiny. Given the prime Midtown location, you won't be surprised that the Roseland, where many got to see their favorite bands play, is dying a slow death to make way for new luxury condos. Thanks a lot, one percent. Gothamist invites us to step inside to see what's left of a building that had stood on the spot since 1922. Among the gutted remains are wallpaper, mirror tiles and old tips jars. But hey. Who needs to catch The Cult again at a historic venue when the mega rich can have yet another place to live?

The Roseland Ballroom in 2005. Photo by Kate Leonova for Property Shark.

It's becoming a tale of two sides of one city. On the one side, you have the working and middle class, struggling to make ends meet, vying for affordable housing, fighting to keep rezoning plans from driving them out of their homes. On the other, you have the mega rich, snapping up ultra-luxury condos in high-rise buildings such as Midtown's One57. And which side ends up getting the tax breaks, you ask? It looks like, in this case, it's good old One57, which just sold its penthouse for $100 million and got a $35 million tax break, "a subsidy offered to billionaire developers under 412-a tax abatement program," reports the Daily News. It also looks like hundreds of New Yorkers got mad as hell and protested the program last week in front of the high-end tower. According to the Daily News, "the protest comes amid a growing push to end the abatement program, which is set to expire this year unless it’s renewed by Albany pols." The Daily News, which featured One57 as a symbol of the city's growing divide between rich and poor in a separate news item, reported that "the feds are probing how One57 scored its tax break."

Bill Cosby famously asked, in a comedy routine, "Why is there air?" And investor James Brady — no relation to the recently decease gun-control advocate — has now spent at least seven years in court and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees asking his co-op, "Where are my air rights?" The answer, New York courts have responded time and again, is that he doesn't have them, even though the offering plan for the commercial co-op at 450 West 31st Street, where he owns a penthouse suite, gives him "the right to construct or extend structures upon the roof or above the same."

Justice Shirley Kornreich, reports the New York Law Journal, dismissed Brady's most recent actions as “a near-perfect example of frivolous conduct" and reaffirmed an earlier decision that the co-op own but the case remains fascinatingly complex and actually quite entertaining — and that's even before you get to Brady's website, BullyJudges.com, where he claims "corrupt" New York justices have behaved with “depraved indifference” and “deceptive behavior” So we're not actually sure if he's calling the judges bullies, or if "bully judges" is a suggestion....

The New York Observer is celebrating: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against that newspaper and the website TheRealDeal.com, filed against them by Robert Gans, CEO of Scores Holding Co, Inc. Both publications picked up a story from the New York Post in December 2012 about Gans being sued by the board of the Atelier condominium at 635 W. 42nd Street for allegedly allowing an escort service to be run by one of his employees out of an apartment there. Gans sued the publications over a technicality in their language when describing the suit, but according to the Observer, the judge "basically said that even if all of the plaintiff’s claims were true, they didn’t amount to ‘any cognizable legal theory.’”

No condominium or cooperative board wants to restrict its residents' ability to work with brokers they choose; indeed, some argue that this would be illegal restraint of trade. Yet some brokers are problematic, creating needless issues for boards to deal with, from selling apartments at cut-rate prices, lowering all residents' equity, to simply being a pest who bombards residents with unwanted e-mail. So what can a condo or co-op board do?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the battle over emotional-support dogs gets even more emotional at East River House, as the feds get into the act. Elsewhere, condo and co-op boards might want to partake of a new program teaching doormen to recognize and report elder abuse. And some in City Council push for property-tax rebates. Plus, co-ops try to more like condos and vice-versa, a new affordable housing program will fill a long-empty condominium in The Bronx's Mount Hope neighborhood, and Ronan Farrow (pictured) may be your new Upper West Side neighbor.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, gay, married co-op and condo owners are now among those getting equal protection under federal law. Plus, is there or isn't there a foreclosure auction at tony River House? And how much impact do maintenance fees have on the sale of a co-op? Plus: ThinkPad goes boom! Condo board goes to court!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Airbnb brings financial support to the case of Nigel Warren, fined $2,400 for illegal hoteling. Read the company's justification for why landlords, co-ops and condos should allows streams of strangers to turn residential buildings into hotels. The best part? Airbnb writes this on the company's "public policy" blog — never once mentioning that overturning New York's illegal-hoteling restrictions would give its business explosive growth. Yep, they're just looking out for the little guy, that's all.

Plus, is a co-op board backing bullies in Park Slope? Sure seems that way from the photographs of a Yuppie's obscene hand gestures toward an 88-year-old woman, her 53-year-old daughter and the grandkids at 808 8th Avenue in Brooklyn. Plus, Judge Judy sells her co-op, and the condominium board of a landmarked building sues to keep a Denny's restaurant out of it.

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