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Post date: January 18 2001

Spitzer Files $8 Million Lawsuit Against Sponsors Of Tribeca Loft Condo To Repair Construction Defects

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that an $8 million lawsuit has been filed against the sponsors of a loft condominium building in Tribeca, alleging that its developers failed to disclose major construction defects and deficiencies in the building to prospective buyers. The lawsuitseeks to permanently bar the sponsors from the co-op and condo business and to recover $8 million to repair the building. The defendants in the lawsuit are the sponsors, 27 North Moore Associates, LLC, the principals of which are Jack Lefkowitz, Abraham Berkowitz and Joseph Pell Lombardi.

The building, located at 27 North Moore Street in Lower Manhattan, is known as The Icehouse because it was used to store ice harvested from the Hudson River, before the advent of refrigeration.

The condominium is a fully renovated, 13-story loft building, with 57 residential dwelling units and 5 commercial units. Sales took place in 1999, with an average price of more than $1 million per unit. Soon after residents began to move in, they discovered the building's defects. Efforts by Spitzer's office to get the sponsors to correct the problems without litigation were not successful.

"The defendants were given every opportunity to correct the substantial defects in this building and failed to do so," Spitzer said. "This litigation seeks to remedy those conditions and to ensure that the unit owners receive what they were promised in the offering plan."

Some of the defects include wood floors inside residences that have warped and buckled; a wall installed in the courtyard was supposed to be brick and is actually a quarter inch veneer that looks like brick; a skim coat of paint promised in the offering plan was not applied; facades need pointing; the stucco on the exterior walls needs repair; the roof requires installation of a new waterproof membrane; a marble floor for the lobby promised in the offering plan was not installed; and various repairs are needed in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, the plumbing and the fire safety system.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Oliver A. Rosengart under the direction of Bureau Chief Geneith Turnbull of the Attorney General's Real Estate Financing Bureau.