February 12, 2016

Buyout Legends: Developers Paid 15 CPW Hermit Holdout $17M to Move Into a Free Apartment

What do you do when you're a developer who has a 52,000-square-foot property with one tenant...who won't leave? While we've all heard legends about holdouts in rent-controlled apartments getting big buyouts from deep-pocketed developers, none to date could beat the good fortune of Herbert J. Sukenik. The reclusive septuagenarian lived in his 350-square-foot apartment (which happened to have four exposures and Central Park and two river views) at the Mayflower Hotel for three decades. But he ended up walking away with $17 million, the most money ever paid to a tenant to leave a New York apartment, and walked into an almost-free, 2,200-square-foot, 16th-floor home in the venerable Essex House on Central Park South.
So what happened?