Real estate developer Roy Schoenberg has filed a $50 million lawsuit in connection with a plan to build a 47-story tower on the site of the former Pathmark pharmacy on Cherry Street. The story was first reported by the Daily News yesterday.
As we noted last summer, Schoenberg’s Little Cherry LLC had teamed up with the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund to create a mixed income tower at 237-247 Cherry St. But legal documents filed last week show he’s now suing the non-profit organizations for alleged breach of contract.
The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court, is known as “Little Cherry LLC vs. Two Bridges Housing Development Company and Two Bridges Associates.” In the complaint, Schoenberg’s attorneys say he agreed to purchase the development site in 2012 for $4 million. The project was envisioned as a 47-story tower with 309 apartments, ground floor commercial space and a community facility to be used by Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. There would be 70 rent stabilized apartments for families earning 80% of Area Median Income. A portion of the building would be cantilevered over part of the existing single story structure. This design work-around was made necessary because Extell Development, which is building a massive project on the neighboring site, holds a lease on a section of the former Pathmark pharmacy building until the year 2044.
Schoenberg claims that Two Bridges and Settlement Housing Fund have not lived up to the terms of their deal, which required all parties to help push through approvals with the Department of City Planning for the project. In order for the tower to be built, the city would need to sign off on a proposal to position the new tower closer to existing buildings than current zoning allows. Little Cherry has already paid around $325,000 to the property owners. The agreement made provisions for additional payments in the event that the City Planning application got bogged down, which is exactly what’s happened.
Two Bridges President Victor Papa declined to comment for this story.