By Braden Keil, New York Post
August 2, 2007 -- Developer Richard Kalikow, who sent out a press release two weeks ago proclaiming that he was taking over the city's costliest condo conversion, has just thrown in the towel on the project.
A legal rift between Kalikow and his partner Jeremiah O'Connor over control of the billion-dollar Manhattan House condo conversion prompted a Manhattan Supreme Court judge in June to order the two warring developers to either sell or buy the other out within 30 days.
Occupying a full block on East 65th and 66th streets and Second and Third avenues, Manhattan House, includes 575 rental units that are slated to become luxury condominium apartments as tenants' leases expire.
Kalikow's Alpha Manhattan group sent out a release on July 18 stating that it had received financing from UBS and "has exercised its right to buy out O'Connor North America (ONA) and purchase its interest in Manhattan House."
But late yesterday, Kalikow sent a signed letter to ONA saying: "Alpha will not become the purchasing member pursuant to the Buy-Sell notice."
The letter further stated that "Alpha confirms that ONA will close the acquisition of Alpha's interest in Manhattan House Partners LLC no later [than] August 31, 2007."
"Now that Mr. O'Connor has prevailed, I'm sure the conversion will be an even bigger success," said an exuberant Dolly Lenz, the vice-chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who will be heading the marketing of the pricey project.