The skyscraper of new york city’s ultra-wealthy is crumbling under the weight of its defects

Plumbing problems, creaky walls, frequent lift malfunctions: many of the extremely wealthy residents of 423 Park Avenue can't take it anymore.

New York Skyscraper
© DBOX for Macklowe Properties and CIM Group
New York Skyscraper

Sarina Abramovich and her husband were among the first residents of the tower at 423 Park Avenue in New York City. This huge 1,400-foot building with an estimated value of more than £2.2 billion is home to several wealthy residents. Sarina Abramovich and her husband spent £12.3 million on a 3,700 square foot flat.

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Prestigious residents fleeing

The penthouse on the 96th floor was sold for £63.7 million in 2016, while Jennifer Lopez and her husband bought a flat (sold a year later) for £11 million in 2018. Perhaps the singer preferred to leave the building quickly because of its many problems. According to the NY Times, several residents have filed claims, reportedly in the millions of dollars, for water damage due to plumbing problems. The Abramovich's have had to deal with water leaks which caused more than £360,000 in damage…

Frequent lift malfunctions have been mentioned, while the walls and metal partitions creak noisily as soon as the wind blows a little too hard. In particular, construction methods and building materials, which are unsuitable for such a large building, are pointed out. According to a study by SBI Consultants, an engineering firm, quoted by one of the disgruntled residents, 73% of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components observed did not conform to the developers' blueprints and almost a quarter present ‘real problems of personal safety.’

A tug-of-war of responsibility

Multinational company Lendlease, which led the construction of the building, refuted these criticisms:

Lendlease is always committed to delivering its projects safely and to the highest standards. We have been in contact with our client regarding some tenant comments, which we are currently assessing.

CIM Group, one of the developers, assured that this was a ‘successfully built project’ and was in contact with the condominium council to deal with complaints. Macklowe Properties, the other developer, did not respond to the NYT's requests for comment.

Residents are also facing an increase in the annual common fees (+40% in 2019), due in particular to the increase in insurance premiums and the repairs mentioned, but also costs related to the building's private restaurant, which have increased twelvefold between 2015 and 2021 (from £870 to almost £11,000), while breakfast is no longer included. The misfortunes of the residents of 432 Park Avenue has brought happiness to New Yorkers and internet users in general, the Guardian reported. ‘432 Park Avenue is the most obnoxious building in all of Manhattan and this story warmed my heart,’ wrote one on Twitter. ‘Thanks for brightening my morning,’ commented another on the NYT website.

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