Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Remember how we highlighted Harry Macklowe's new project in Midtown? Well, there are still some holdouts who are holding up his big plans. Steve Cuozzo says that a tailor Rafael Schwartz wants to stay as long as possible at 510 Madison Avenue.

HARRY Macklowe just can't wait to get started on his two big Midtown development projects. And who can blame him?

Having spent nearly $500 million to buy the Drake Hotel at Park Avenue and 56th Street and a site anchored by 510 Madison Ave., he's eager to tap the hot market for new apartments, which Macklowe is believed to have planned for both prominent corners.

But a couple of pesky tenants are giving him fits. It doesn't necessarily mean Macklowe's up to anything wrong - holdouts often see pots of gold when they stand between a developer and a project he's spent years trying to get off the ground.

Nor is he alone: Last week, we reported on how Markt restaurant had dragged Taconic Investment Partners into court over Taconic's plan to evict it from 401 W. 14th St. to make room for its own project.

But the Macklowe skirmishes make for entertaining spectacles. At 510 Madison, fifth-floor custom tailor Raphael Schwartz - whose holdout posture was reported in The Post last month - remains in his studio, even though black netting wraps the building and several adjacent ones on East 53rd Street as preliminary demolition gets under way.

Schwartz is the last upper-floor tenant; the ground-floor stores have all left or agreed to leave except for luxury pen shop Rebecca Moss, which is also duking it out with Macklowe over terms of an early lease termination.

Neither the developer nor the tailor budged after The Post's story. Then, Schwartz said, last Friday, "This person, Harry Macklowe, came here and started talking about the community and how I'm stopping his new building from going up."

He said Macklowe, who was polite and made no threats, tried to get Schwartz to accept a $200,000 relocation offer by mentioning the names of several rabbis he believed he and Buenos Aires-born Schwartz had in common.

"He said, 'You know, several of my rabbis are from Argentina.' "

"Why should I give a [bleep] about his rabbi?," Schwartz laughed. "I'm not even Jewish."

Schwartz just might get that pot of gold

HOLDOUTS GIVE MACKLOWE FITS By STEVE CUOZZO - New York Post Online Edition: realestate


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