A fire on Saturday at the mega-luxe One57 development in Midtown — where an investor famously purchased the building’s penthouse for a whopping $90 million — became the target of a complaint filed with the state Supreme Court on Sunday. Michael Hurwitz, a lawyer who lives just behind the super-tall building, filed court documents as the sole plaintiff seeking a temporary restraining order barring Extell Development, the construction company Lend Lease and a collection of yet-to-be-identified firms also working on the project from access and further construction.
But in a phone interview, Hurwitz, who claims physical, emotional and economic harm, said that following an investigation of the site by the city Department of Buildings, Judge Lori Sattler declined to sign the temporary restraining order this week. DOB records show that the Fire Department of New York requested a stability inspection of a scaffold over the building’s loading dock due to the fire, and that the complaint has since been resolved.
Hurwitz, the managing member of the Hurwitz Law Firm — which, in part, concentrates in real estate and foreclosure defense — claims the developers not only failed to secure the construction zone in accordance with state and city regulations, but failed to keep the area safe from fire.
“The court denied the temporary restraining order, and while we would not normally comment on ongoing litigation, we want to state that these allegations … are entirely unfounded and without merit,” said an Extell spokesperson in a written statement.
A Lend Lease spokesperson declined comment.
A court date is scheduled for April 2 for Extell and Lend Lease to answer the claims against them.
The fire at the building was reported just before 9 p.m. Saturday, according to reports. Firefighters brought the blaze under control just over an hour later. No injuries were reported. The fire started on the loading dock, according to the news reports, though Hurwitz says the fire spread to the fifth-floor terrace that juts off the side of One57.
A message to the Fire Department of New York seeking confirmation on this detail was not immediately returned.
Hurwitz resides in a sixth-floor unit at 150 West 58th Street and had to evacuate his home, which he says directly faces One57’s fifth-floor terrace. He claims that the fire surrounded his apartment on the outside, which he says creates “reasonable concern” of compromising structural integrity. Hurwitz also details bodily harm in the complaint: He suffered a back injury while rushing to evacuate, as well as respiratory pain from the smoke.
“The whole area was in a blazing fire,” Hurwitz said over the phone. “It was a very close call … it was 100 percent unacceptable what was going on there.” — Zachary Kussin