The Domino development encountered its share of opposition during the (five-year!) planning process, especially in the areas of transportation and the density, but it ultimately got the approval it needed from the city in July to proceed. Now, however, a community group is suing to block the megaproject. As first The Real Deal and then The Brooklyn Paper reported, the Williamsburg Community Preservation Coalition is arguing that City Council, City Planning, and the developer failed to conduct an adequate environmental review of the site. (Maybe they were inspired by the Atlantic Yards opponents recent victory?) The concerns still concentrate on the development’s size, surrounding transportation, traffic, schools, and publicly accessible open space.
We realize that developers aren’t at the top of everyone’s popularity list but we’d say that buyers are looking like the slimeballs in this situation…According to a New York Times article this morning, buyers who put down deposits at the height of the market are using a 1968 law designed to protect country bumpkins from outright fraud to wriggle out of their obligations. Lawyers are combing through condo filings and other paperwork to find some box or other that developers neglected to check and using that as an excuse to get back hundreds of thousands of dollars for their clients. The statute was never designed for purchasers of luxury condominiums in urban areas to get out of contracts because of changes in the economy, said Bruce H. Lederman, a lawyer defending developers in two of these cases in Long Island City. It was designed to protect unsophisticated out-of-state purchasers like Jackie Gleason in â€˜The Honeymooners’ from Florida swampland schemes. Rough.
A legal battle between a developer and investors has resulted in a nightmare scenario for some buyers at the Hello Living condo complex on the Crown Heights-Prospect Heights border, the Times reports. The project’s developer, Eli Karp, is being sued by investors who allege he stole money from the project and sold units without their permission. For his part, Karp says the investors want the properties to fall into foreclosure so they can turn around and buy them on the cheap. The lawsuits have doomed closings for a couple would-be buyers because banks have pulled out of their mortgage commitments. Other contract-holders, meanwhile, face the prospect of losing their savings: “‘For most of us, this is our first purchase, and it’s most of our life savings,’ said Jennifer DiFiglia, who has a contract with her husband on a $525,000 two-bedroom. Her deposit remains tied up in litigation, and if she cannot close, she could lose thousands of dollars in legal fees and tax penalties for withdrawing retirement money. ‘This isn’t a building filled with people working at hedge funds,’ she added.”
Families See a Utopia Turn Into an Ugly Legal Fight [NY Times] GMAP
Say Hello to More Hello Living [Brownstoner]
Checking In On Hello Living [Brownstoner]
Development Watch: Pacific Blue East [Brownstoner]