Billionaire developer Sheldon Solow’s plans to build a hotel and condo tower on Billionaires’ Row are being obstructed by an antiques shop, the New York Times reports. Over the past few decades, Solow has been amassing properties across from his office tower at 9 West 57th Street. Last summer he revealed his intentions of moving forward with plans to build across from the office building, but now, one of his tenants may not allow that to happen.
The tenant in question is Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques. They occupy the ground floor space at 10 West 57th Street, and a lawyer representing the owners told the Times that they don’t want to leave the spot because of the great location, and the fact that they have a valid lease.
Solow sees it differently. Early last month, his firm handed out a five-day notice to the store owners, ending the lease. Solow contends that eviction notice was due to a series of lawsuits filed against the shop over allegations of cheating. The owners, Irving and Samuel Morano, were most recently charged in the illegal sale of armory worth $4.5 million, though that case has yet to be decided.
A lawyer for the tenant told the Times that the developer suddenly erected scaffolding up on his parcel of properties on 57th Street in March to allegedly drive out all the existing tenants. Solow’s plan is to replace the existing structures with a 54-story tower designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
This battle now heads to the State Supreme Court, which will begin hearing the case this Thursday. In addition to this project, Solow also announced plans early this year to build a 19-story residential building next to his office tower at 7 West 57th Street. Work on that is now moving forward.