Real estate scandal fans: It's Sheffield57 Relinquishing Day! Developer Kent Swig and his partners are set to turn over control of the trouble-plagued condo conversion near Columbus Circle, Crain's reports, and the expectation is the building will be sold at auction. Who knows what crazy turns are left in the Sheffield saga, but one thing's for sure: It'll be hard for the building's future to live up to its past. The West 57th Street building was purchased for $418 million back in '05, and since then we've seen legal action from rent-stabilized tenants, market-rate tenants, buyers, contractors, partners, the Naked Cowboy, Pale Male and a homeless guy we just jostled awake. This monumental day got us thinking about or favorite Sheffield moments over the years. Here's seven, one for each floor mysteriously added to the building:
7) After a ruckus caused by market-rate renters whose leases weren't renewed, a Sheffield tenant wrote, "It seems like a real estate civil war may be starting." Perhaps the most factual statement ever printed on Curbed.
6) Sensing that 50 floors might not be enough to sell the luxurious living being promised, the developers magically transform the building's height to 57 stories!
5) Buyers in the building allege that Swig made numerous withdrawals from the building's reserve fund to pay legal fees, and failed to show that a large chunk of it had been repaid. Oh, and this: "The owners also allege that Swig spent nearly $6 million from the reserve fund to replace windows, even though there is no documentation to justify the need to replace the windows." Yeesh, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth!
4) Swig's assorted legal predicaments at the Sheffield and other projects inspires an instructional video, "Understanding the Situations of Kent Swig & Other Developers and What Real Estate Lawyers Can Do For Their Clients." Yours for only $250!
3) Back when foreigners ruled the booming Manhattan luxury condo market, we got this scene: "Dorothy Somekh, a Halstead broker, said that in an afternoon a Belgian couple she represented bought a $1.7 million two-bedroom condo at the Sheffield in Midtown to rent out for about $7,500 a month. After the couple signed the contract, they headed to Abercrombie & Fitch to shop for clothes for their daughters. 'They're not really sophisticated investors,' Ms. Somekh said. 'But they thought, Where else can I put my money?'"
2) Yair Levy, a partner in the Sheffield 57, attacks Swig with a metal ice bucket at a business meeting, leading to our oft-used PhotoShop and Swig's "Buckethead" nickname. Levy got two days of community service for the bucket bashing.
1) And, of course, the legendary marching band incident. When Swig got word that some rental tenants would be protesting alleged asbestos conditions inside the building, he sent in the band (that video really never gets old, right?). Swig later explained it wasn't to drown out the rally. He swears! "The marching band was there at our invitation. And the invitation was we were going to be doing a big feast or something for kids and it was coinciding with the time that some of the elected officials decided that they would have a demonstration about asbestos." Oh, Big Sheff, you've given us so much already. To your future!
· Sheffield57 coverage [Curbed]
· Sheffield57 coverage [Official Site]