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Corcoran sues over breach of contract at SHoP’s skinny supertall

The brokerage claims that 111 West 57th Street’s developers violated the terms of an agreement to market the condos

Though JDS and Property Markets Group’s skinny supertall at 111 West 57th Street has been steadily rising in the past year—it’s now a fairly prominent presence on the Central Park south skyline—there hasn’t been much in the way of news on sales milestones, or even public listings, from the developers.

But according to the Real Deal, there’s trouble brewing behind the scenes: Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which was tapped in 2015 to lead sales for the building, is now suing the developers over breach of contract. According to TRD, the developers terminated Corcoran’s contract in May, and have since hired Douglas Elliman—and former Corcoran broker Amy Williamson, who was directing sales for the supertall—to market the property.

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that the PMG head Kevin Maloney “commenced a publicity campaign underscoring his lack of desire to market the Building,” and essentially stonewalled attempts to publicly market the property. From TRD:

According to the complaint, the developers subsequently cut the sales team and cancelled a sales launch event. They effectively stopped advertising and terminated their creative and public relations teams, the suit claims. Out of a $2.5 million marketing budget, they’ve only spent around 20 percent to date, it claims.

The SHoP-designed tower, which will stand 1,428 feet tall when completed, is expected to have a sellout of $1.45 billion for its 60 apartments and 33 storage units, with the least exorbitant of the condos here rumored to start at about $16 million. Even without a public sales launch, some of those pricey condos have entered contract.

This isn’t the first lawsuit that JDS and PMG have been hit with over the building; AmBase, a former investor, previously sued the development team over foreclosure proceedings; it was resolved last year.

Corcoran is seeking $30 million in damages; the firm’s head Pam Liebman told TRD that “We expect that our clients will honor their obligations and if they don’t, we will pursue the legal remedies to which we are entitled.” JDS’s Michael Stern, meanwhile, told TRD that the lawsuit is “without merit.”