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St. Vincent's Developer Seeks Access to Neighboring Luxury Condos

By Andrea Swalec | August 23, 2012 6:30pm

GREENWICH VILLAGE — The developer turning the former St. Vincent's Hospital into luxury condos is hauling its high-end neighbors into court, demanding access inside their apartments to shield them from imminent construction.

The Rudin Family entity West Village Residences LLC wants a court to force owners of the five multimillion-dollar condos at 131 W. 11th St. to let workers gain entry into their apartments to install "protective" construction equipment outside their building while the hospital is demolished, according to court documents filed in state Supreme Court. 

"[West Village Residences] is ready, willing and able to commence the construction work for this $900 million project but has been prevented from doing so by [the plaintiffs'] refusal to grant the requisite access to the adjoining property," the petition said. 

The battleground pits one of the city's most powerful developers against some of the city's most powerful tenants — the building's units have recently sold for upwards of $1.7 million and have housed the city's tastemakers including Vogue editor Grace Coddington, property records show.

The debate has delayed work by more than two months at a cost of at least $4 million and counting, the petition said.

"Each month that this project is delayed costs [West Village Residences] in excess of $2 million in interest and carrying costs alone." 

The townhouse's property owners did not immediately return multiple requests for comment.

WVR approached the condo owners in June to seek permission to install scaffolding on their building, put protective materials on the roof and a deck and install a sidewalk shed outside, the petition said. The construction was slated to begin in August, and equipment would remain at the building for eight months, WVR said. 

The developer also wanted to install vibration monitors "the size of a shoebox" in each condo unit for at least three years to ensure that 131 W. 11th St. was not compromised by the construction next door. 

But the property owners refused to open their doors after WVR declined to give them $500,000, the petition said. 

Instead, the developer offered to pay all legal and engineering fees incurred by the condo board or residents and cover the costs of any damages to their building during construction. 

The city granted WVR final approval for the redevelopment in March, after years of public review and negotiations. The development will include a public park on St. Vincent's Triangle and a memorial to victims of the AIDS epidemic.