- The New York Times reports there’s discontent in the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower.
- That includes mechanical issues like flooding and swaying.
- Residents are also upset about rising costs on their multimillion-dollar units.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
There’s trouble in the sky: Some residents of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower say the building has fallen short.
Stefanos Chen of The The New York Times reports that residents of 432 Park Avenue â€” who have paid millions for their units â€” are “at odds” with developers over issues in the record-breakingly tall building. Those issues include costly floods, elevator issues, and the groans of the building as it sways in the wind.
The tower is on New York City’s infamous “Billionaires’ Row” of ultra-luxe skyscrapers and new supertall buildings, located just south of Central Park. As Insider’s Katie Warren reported, luxury real-estate sales in New York City began to slow in 2019, and some buildings began to divide up sprawling penthouses (and slash their prices) â€” including a 95th-floor penthouse at 432 Park Avenue.
Now, those sweeping towers may face new troubles. As the Times reports, the concerns over the building’s potential defects and construction aren’t just confined to 432 Park: “Engineers privy to some of the disputes say many of the same issues are occurring quietly in other new towers.”
Floods, wind, and noise
The building has had several floods, with one “water line failure” taking two of the four elevators out of service. Per the Times, those incidents occurred on the “mechanical floors” that allow the building to be so tall â€” they don’t count towards its size.
And when you’re that high up, the wind has a stronger impact: Just ask the resident who was “entrapped” for about an hour-and-a-half after a “high-wind condition” halted an elevator.
The wind isn’t the only noise. The trash chute “sounds like a bomb” â€” and residents have heard “creaking, banging and clicking noises,” per notes from a 2019 owners’ meeting that the Times reviewed.
Residents have split into groups to try and address the issues, the Times reports. One group, made up of 40 unit owners (out of 103 total units), reportedly commissioned engineering firm SBI Consultants for a study.
“Initial findings showed that 73% of mechanical, electrical and plumbing components observed failed to conform with the developers’ drawings,” the Times reported â€” and about a quarter may have had “actual life safety issues.”
“I was convinced it would be the best building in New York,” resident Sarina Abramovich told The Times. “They’re still billing it as God’s gift to the world, and it’s not.”
Rising costs for ultrawealthy residents
All of those issues came with an increased price tag: The Times reports that, in 2019, annual common charges increased by 40%. And one resident said that insurance costs had increased by 300% in two years â€” partially due to some of the building’s “water-related incidents.”
Another thing upsetting residents? Increasing fees at the tower’s private restaurant (which boasts Michelin-star chef Shaun Hergatt). In 2015, owners were required to spend $US1,200 a year there. Now, they have to spend $US15,000 a year.
That includes breakfast, which, the Times reports, is no longer free.