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Wall Street Titan Worried Rooftop Bar Would Mar View from $24M Penthouse

By James Fanelli and Irene Plagianos  on March 27, 2013 3:55pm  | Updated on March 27, 2013 5:16pm

TRIBECA — The new king of Wall Street has a bearish outlook about a construction site a block away from his $23.7 million penthouse.

Richard Handler — who out-earned all other banking bigwigs last year with a $58 million pay package — wants to stop the renovation of the former Verizon building, including the construction of a booze-friendly rooftop lounge, at 50 Varick St. because it'll ruin the panoramic view from his posh pad.

Handler filed a petition in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday to halt a London ad agency's plans to turn four floors at 50 Varick into a creative center, including a rooftop event space serving liquor and food.

Handler, who made the petition under his limited liability company Raesky, fears that the planned roof deck and bar area will ruin the northwest view from his penthouse at 1 York St.

"The project will significantly obstruct the panoramic river views from [Handler's] apartment," the petition says.

He's also worried about the noise and light pollution from the nearly 119-foot building, according to the petition.

The ad agency, Spring Studios, has sought a liquor license and its application in November said the venue could hold more than 3,000 people, play live music and stay open until 4 a.m., seven days a week, according to Handler's petition.

"Use of the building roof deck as an outdoor event space and its concomitant noise will impair the use and value of [Handler's] apartment," the petition says.

The liquor license has also met stiff opposition from Community Board 1. Spring Studios has revamped its liquor license application since November. Last week it told board members it will limit the number of events on the deck and work with the community to address any concerns.

On Feb. 28 Handler's lawyers met with a deputy commissioner of the Department of Buildings to express their concerns and to request an audit of Spring Studios' plans. The commissioner has since assigned a plan examiner to look over the project, according to the petition.

The petition names the building's owner, 50 Varick LLC, its contractors and the DOB as defendants. It asks a judge for an order to halt construction while the DOB conducts its audit.

Handler is the CEO of investment firm Jeffries Group. In 2012 the finance titan took home $19 million plus $39 million in stock incentives over the next three years. The huge pay package bested the earnings of his peers at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

Handler purchased the penthouse in 2010, using Raesky LLC. The pad has floor-to-ceiling windows and was designed by renowned architect Enrique Norten.

The DOB did not immediately return a call for comment about the audit.

Bradford Sussman, a lawyer for Spring Studios, said the matter was between Handler and 50 Varick's owner.

"As tenants, Spring Studios is not named or involved in this action," he said. "This is a matter between the landlord, the Department of Buildings and the complainant."

Handler's lawyers did not immediately return a call for comment.

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