MIDTOWN EAST — A developer that wants to demolish a church and build a high-rise condo in its place is suing a neighboring building for delaying the construction.
Developer Erik Ekstein is trying to demolish the five-story Madison Avenue Baptist Church at 30 E. 31st St., but the neighboring condo building, M127, has refused to let workers inside to do necessary prep work, including installing protective scaffolding, according to a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court on Jan. 13.
The developer needs access to M127’s roof, side yard and backyard at 127 Madison Ave. to install protections required by the city, including temporary crack and vibration monitors and waterproofing, along with scaffolding, according to the lawsuit.
The new high-rise condo will be taller than the 13-story M127 building, so the roof protections must be installed before work begins, the lawsuit states.
Ekstein has asked the condo's managing board for permission to do the work, but the board refused to let construction workers inside, stalling the demolition, the suit says.
The developer's lawsuit demands that M127's board allow the work to move forward.
A member of M127’s board of managers declined to comment.
The entire project, including demolition and construction, is expected to cost $90 million, according to a Curbed report.
Certes Partners, which purchased the Madison Avenue Baptist Church, built in 1906, for $15.6 million in July 2014, declined to comment. Ekstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Madison Avenue Baptist Church is still operating out of its separate sanctuary on Madison Avenue between 30th and 31st streets, which will not be demolished.