By Sabina Mollot
Extell Development, which is building a new residential and retail development across from Stuyvesant Town on East 14th Street, has taken the owner of a neighboring property to court. The complaint, which was filed on Thursday, September 24, alleges that a limited liability company known as NAR Apartments is delaying Extell’s progress by refusing to allow access to NAR’s property on East 13th Street for needed prep work.
According to the suit, three limited liability companies affiliated with Extell Development hold the lease to 512 and 516 East 14th Street, as well as the remaining parcels from 500-530 East 14th Street, and have already been authorized to develop the property into two seven-story buildings.
But the work has been held up due to refusal of NAR, which owns a five-story building at 517 East 13th Street, according to Extell.
Extell, the suit said, has been trying to gain access to its neighbor’s property for the past 10 months in order to complete work that includes installing, maintaining (and later removing) protection at NAR’s property such as fencing to the courtyard as well as NAR’s roof, building a sidewalk bridge, installing netting in front of windows and work to protect chimneys, flues, exhausts and vents, as well as any other work that may be required.
Although the work, Extell argued, is required by local law, NAR “has wrongfully and unreasonably delayed access for the Code required property protection.” Doing so, the complaint added, puts NAR’s building and “its occupants and the general public at risk.” Extell also accused NAR of taking weeks to respond to requests for access and either hasn’t respond to proposed access agreements or making “unreasonable demands.” Such demands include additional work on NAR’s property or “license fees and penalties.” Extell also claimed it last heard from NAR in March when the latter company listed some of its concerns, which Extell said it responded to.
“(Extell) also had two sets of revisions to the drawings for the extension of the chimney flue in an effort to resolve (NAR’s) objections,” Extell said. “No response has been received from (NAR) since the last set of drawings were sent on July 13.”
According to Extell, NAR wanted a chimney extended in masonry and brick, which Extell called a “practical difficulty” due to the expected height of the chimney. Since NAR didn’t respond to Extell’s proposals, Extell cited city code on chimneys to argue that the burden to complete the chimney project should now fall on NAR.
The developer went on to say that once the work begins, the project should be complete in 28 months. The protections to NAR’s property would remain in place until Department of Buildings authorizes their removal.
Alan Rabunski, an attorney representing NAR Apartments, did not respond to a request for comment from Town & Village. A spokesperson for Extell Development also did not respond to a request for comment.
The owners haven’t discussed the ongoing progress on the property, which used to house five small buildings that were destroyed in a fire in 2010. RFK has been marketing the retail spaces at the two buildings replacing them, with the addresses of 500 and 524 East 14th Street.
In related news, a meeting was held on Tuesday evening at Diaz y Flores Community Garden on East 13th Street by neighbors fed up with ongoing construction at the Extell site, local blog EVGrieve reported.