An Upper West Side church has filed suit against the developer it recently partnered with, claiming it never received payment for the sale of five luxury condominiums it allowed the group to develop and sell. The suit was first reported by Crain’s.
The Pentecostal Church of God International Movement had hired the defendants – listed as Michael Bauer, Reuben Pinner and Emanuel Kanaris – to develop and sell a portion of its property and also make improvements to the church’s facility. The lawsuit claims the defendants “refused to turn over the apartments” and “instead sold the apartments below fair market value.” The church has also claimed that it “received a subpar Church space that did not comply with the original plans as agreed by the parties.”
The church claims it had entered into the relationship with the defendants, listed as part of Borough Equities LLC in the court filings, with the expectation it would receive four one-bedroom apartments at 952 Columbus Ave (on the corner of W. 107th St.) in addition to the church space on the ground floor, plus one apartment at 941 Columbus Ave.
Crain’s reports that the church sold 952 Columbus Ave to the development group for $6.5M in 2015. The group then constructed what is now Ivy Park, a luxury condominium building that first opened in 2017.
The fifth unit at 941 Columbus Ave. is part of the building which the developers sold for $4,450,000 in 2015 less than two weeks after purchasing it from the church for only $225,000 (according to Realty Hop).
The church also cites a lack of cooperation and communication in the lawsuit, claiming the defendants did not provide documents related to project costs, did not involve the church in the tenant selection process, and failed to have monthly scheduled meetings with the church, among other complaints.
The church is seeking $3M plus damages and fees, according to the lawsuit filings.