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Clearing Buildings for Major Capital Projects

Itkowitz PLLC has cleared several buildings for major capital projects. For example, Itkowitz PLLC was lead counsel for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in evicting tenants from Grand Central Station in the mid-1990s so that its historic renovation could begin. Other "de-leasing" projects include clearing buildings at 750 Lexington Avenue for Cohen Bros. Real Estate Corp., at the New York City headquarters of the Directors Guild of America, Inc., at the New York Coliseum for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and at a building on 11th Avenue in Manhattan containing approximately 150 sub-tenants for Charles Benenson & Preston R. Tisch.


The following is a victory we won when clearing the New York City headquarters of the Directors Guild of America:

Rascoff Zysblat Organization v. Directors Guild of America

(sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 5/2/01)

Where landlord had the right to terminate tenant's lease if building is renovated or demolished, etc., and landlord invoked the early termination procedure by giving tenant 180 days notice of termination as was required, court found it to be sufficient that landlord had relied on Construction Manager agreement, based on the theory that hiring a Construction Manager complied with the lease provision allowing for early termination where the evidence clearly demonstrated development of the building and the scope of the project exceeded the requirement in the lease to invoke termination.

Link to Full Text of Decision

 

The above decision was affirmed upon appeal. Here is the text of the Appellate Division's decision:

Rascoff Zysblat Organization v. Directors Guild of America
297 A.D.2d 241, 746 N.Y.S.2d 388 (Mem) (App. Div. 1st Dept. 8/22/02)

Link to Full Text of Decision

See the Full Text of Itkowitz Brief as Published by Westlaw at 2002 WL 34354699


The following case is from the Grand Central Station Project:

Terminal Camera v. MTA

(sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 3/6/96)

Terminal Camera was a small store operating in Grand Central Station that resisted all efforts to remove it. Delay past the point when construction was scheduled to begin could have potentially cost the MTA $900,000.00 per month. Itkowitz prevailed against Terminal Camera in a civil court holdover proceeding. Terminal Camera then brought an Article 78 Proceeding challenging the MTA's right to terminate the subject month-to-month lease that we defeated. Subsequently Terminal Camera's efforts to stay its eviction in bankruptcy court failed, as did any attempt to obtain a stay in the Appellate Division.

MTA has "proprietary right," like any other landlord, to terminate a tenant's lease.

Link to Full Text of Decision

 

Here is another Grand Central Station victory:

MTA v. Dollar Bills

(Civ. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 5/13/96)

Court upheld holdover petition by the MTA against Dollar Bills, the last holdout tenant whose removal was necessary for the renovation of Grand Central Station. The court rejected attacks on the service of the notice of petition; permitted the amendment of the petition; and determined that the failure to timely object to the verification of the petition constituted waiver of any objection, and that a discrepancy in the description of the premises was a "non-jurisdictional" amendable defect.

Link to Full Text of Decision


The following was one of the cases involved when Itkowitz PLLC cleared a building on 11th Avenue in Manhattan containing approximately 150 sub-tenants for Charles Benenson & Preston R. Tisch:

Benenson v. New York Oriental Rug Trade Center

(sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 4/15/94)

Tenant argued that service of a three-day notice was required to comply with a provision in the subject lease stating that copies of any notices required under the lease must be mailed to both the tenant and its attorneys. The lease required that any notice sent under the lease also be mailed to their attorneys. Because the attorneys in question had moved since the execution of the lease and tenant had notified landlord of the new address, tenant alleged that a mailing to the old address rendered the service of the notice invalid. The court ruled in favor of the landlord, because the lease only requires that statements, which are to be given by the landlord to the tenant "under the lease," are also to be given to the attorney. The three-day notice was not required to be given by the terms of the lease; the statute required it. In short, service of the three-day notice on the tenant and upon its attorney had been waived, and the service of a three-day notice on the tenant without service on the tenant's attorney did not violate the terms of the lease or of any statute.

Link to Full Text of Decision

 

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