Scrambling what would have been one of the country’s biggest residential deals ever, the would-be buyer of a two-unit, three-level penthouse at The Plaza is taking the building’s developer, El-Ad, to court.
According to a copy of the suit emailed to The Observer today, an anonymous buyer (listed as Penthouse 2009, Inc. and Penthouse 2001, Inc.) has backed out of a $53.5 million deal for a gargantuan spread in the newly redone condo and hotel. The suit demands that the buyer have the chance to get a $10.7 million (!!) deposit back, not to mention damages "believed to exceed $20,000,000" because of a bait and switch:
The Penthouses were bought, sight unseen, based upon representation made by El-Ad… However, unlike in the classic Eloise series of children’s books set in the Plaza Hotel, where the rooms at the Plaza Hotel embodied the height of elegance and sophistication, the same can not be said of the Penthouses. The completed Penthouses utterly fail to live up to the representations of El-Ad to Plaintiffs of superior condition, quality, and overall appearance.
Capote’s bowtie is spinning in his grave.
What secret changes to the triplex penthouse incurred the wrath of the would-be buyer? "After the Agreements were executed, the Sponsor made unilateral and impermissible design changes to the Penthouses diminishing the livable square footage, cutting down sight lines, minimizing windows and lowering ceilings, and failed to disclose such changes to Plaintiffs." (The middle of the 55-page suit says the buyer was particularly defrauded by the absence of "unobstructed floor to ceiling windows," "lower than represented ceiling heights," and, of course, "unappealing drainage grates which further impeded Plaintiffs’ views.)
The suit say El-Ad and its brokers, Stribling, "intentionally concealed the mofidifications… by refusing to permit access," which must be hilarious news for the Russian nickel magnate Oleg Baibakov, who got upset because he couldn’t see an uncompleted Plaza penthouse he was thinking of buying.
Stay tuned for updates from the plaintiff’s lawyer, Stribling and El-Ad.
Updated 3:50 PM: And the mystery buyer is…