Carter B. Horsley
Vornado Realty Trust and
the Clarett Group appear to have
reached a settlement with rent-stabilized tenants at 220 Central Park South that they
want to tear down and replace with a proposed
new condo tower, according to an article December 22, 2010 by Laura Kusisto at
and Clarett bought the 20-story rental apartment
building in 2005 for $131.5 million and have been trying to vacate it
can erect a 41-story residential condominium tower.
were originally offering tenants, including
Corcoran's Leighton Candler, $1 million to vacate the building," the
article said, adding that "now, according to city records, 15 such
holdouts, including Ms. Candler, have been bought out for between $1.3
and $1.56 million."
notable setbacks for landlords trying to
vanquish rent-stabilized tenants (see: Stuy Town),
the developer in this case has been winning legal battles, and now
closer to winning the war," the article continued.
light-gray brick building was erected in 1954 and was
designed by Mayer & Whittlesley and M. Milton Glass. It has 124
& Whittlesley also
designed 40 and 240 Central Park South, which, like 220 Central Park South, are
through-block buildings that extend to 58th Street.
their excellent book, "New York 1960 Architecture
and Urbanism Between The Second World War and The Bicentennial," (The
Monacelli Press, 1995), Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David
provide the following commentary about this building:
three nineteenth-century rowhouses, and an
apartment building, all built by the Appleby family, number 220 had as
immediate neighbor to the west Charles Buckham's Gainsborough Studios
one of the most distinguished examples of the 'artist's studio'
type that flourished before the first World War. Unfortunately, neither
character of its neighbor nor the previous efforts of Mayer &
influenced the design. The twenty-story building had coarsely detailed
rows of double-hung
aluminum windows set in white brick, corner balconies and a blocky
penthouse; a similarly dismal building faced Fifty-eight Street and was
separated from its companion by a garden. The setback base of the
Central Park South compromised the street wall that was so critical to
framing of the park."
building has a two-step-down entrance, a revolving front
door, a concierge, protruding air-conditioners, a garage, and spiked
landscaping. It is to the west of a fire engine company on 58th Street.
is very good public transportation nearby as well as
good local shopping. The Lincoln Center for
Arts is a few blocks away to the west and north. There is considerable
The views to the north are sensational.
November 12, 2009 article by Joey Arak at ny.curbed.com
noted that "over the summer a permit was filed to underpin the building
conjunction with a new adjacent project...Extell's project at 225 West
Street from architects Cetra/Ruddy," adding that SLCE is the
firm for Vornado and Clarett for 220 Central Park South.
article by Mr. Arak September 15, 2010 noted that
broker-blogger Andrew Fine observed that he had "counted what looked
at least 8 to 10 holdouts including one who is clearly having
parting with a lush, south-facing terrace."
An anonymous commenter at Mr. Fine's website,
afincompany.blogspot.com, November 30, 2010, said that "there are 24
rent-stabilized tenants that have been resisting the 'demolition
four and a half years now."
"They are not holdouts.
are tenants fighting to save their homes.
Many of them have been living in this building for over
30 years. Some are
quite elderly (70s and 80s)....The
rest of the tenants, perhaps another 15 units are month-to-month
are either employees, family, or associates of Vornado or Clarett."
April 7, 2009 article in The
New York Post by Steve
Cuozzo said that "the state Appellate Division - the same
recently clobbered Tishman Speyer by ruling that deregulating
apartments at Stuyvesant
Town and Peter
was illegal - just helped Vornado Realty Trust and Clarett Group get
out of a
pickle with their own tenant antagonists."
partnership, known as Madave
Properties SPE," the article continued, "had been stymied by two
different court cases before the same
judge in its quest to vacate 220 Central Park South in order to
demolish it and
replace it with a new apartment tower. But last week, the Appellate
unanimously reversed a lower-court ruling that could have indefinitely
the already behind-schedule razing of the 22-story rent-stabilized,
apartment building between Broadway and Columbus Circle....Under state
Division of Housing and Community Renewal may permit a landlord to deny
renewals to rent-stabilized tenants in buildings to be razed as long as
requirements are met. The developers began buying out tenants and
DHCR's blessing not to renew leases of those still at 220 CPS in May
the agency held off while an unrelated lawsuit involving DHCR and
applications at certain buildings owned by a different developer wended
through the courts. In that case, first heard by Manhattan Supreme
Paul G. Feinman, tenants claimed DHCR's rules did not adequately define
was meant by the word 'demolition' - and Feinman agreed with them.
'The Appellate Division
reversed Feinman last June, but the
delay had by then cost Vornado and Clarett a year. Then, during the
Feinman sided with 20-odd remaining tenants of 220 CPS in a suit they
2007, arguing that DHCR should produce an environmental impact
allowing Madave to deny lease renewals in preparation for demolition.
Although Feinman's ruling didn't require DHCR to get an EIS,
it would have allowed the tenants to continue pressing their claim to
agency do so - a process that could have delayed the project for years
more. The developers opposed the decision for
DHCR also took issue with it on the basis that the agency lacks
conduct an environmental impact study and that environmental review is
of its mission. But Madave, represented by
Rosenberg & Estis' Luise A.
Barrack, and the DHCR, repped in-house by Sandra A. Joseph, won on
week. The Appellate judges said DHCR's
discretion in granting a
non-renewal application is limited to matters specifically cited in
rent-stabilization law - such as whether a developer has the money to
demolition and whether it complies with rules regarding relocation and
compensation for stabilized tenants. Barrack called the decision "a ray
of hope for owners
and developers" of all rent-stabilized buildings staggered by the
appellate court's ruling last month against Tishman Speyer at
Stuyvesant Town -
a case that hung on interpreting J-51 tax-abatement rules -- and by
anti-destabilization bills pending in Albany....She
said DHCR is handling about 40 applications from
landlords seeking approval not to renew stabilized leases at locations
plan to raze and rebuild. The 220 CPS
tenants' lawyer, Jack Lester, said, 'The
issue is significant enough' for them to try persuading the Appellate
judges to let the case go to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest
- a step
rarely allowed when an Appellate ruling is unanimous, as it was in this