If you're a regular reader of the New Construction Manhattan blog, this is not the first time you're hearing about The Riverhouse, a LEED Gold-hopeful condominium in Battery Park City. And if you're not a regular reader of the New Construction Manhattan blog...this is still probably not the first time you're hearing about The Riverhouse, a LEED Gold-hopeful condominium in Battery Park City. With a list of celebrity residents -- Leonardo DiCaprio and Tyra Banks, for starters -- and the unofficial title of the greenest of NYC's green condo listings, The Riverhouse is, as a great newscaster once said, kind of a big deal. Whatever controversies beset it going forward, The Riverhouse's position as one of the most desirable condo listings in Battery Park City is not likely to change. But a new lawsuit filed against The Riverhouse's developers doesn't look all that good.
While it certainly has been covered thoroughly here at New Construction Manhattan, none of the controversies that have beset it thus far, from squabbling developers to two rounds of price chops on condos for sale, have really done much to tarnish The Riverhouse's image. It's one of our favorite NYC condo listings here at NCM, too, for what that's worth -- it's very luxurious for a green condo, and strikingly green for a luxury condo listing, and it's hard not to love that. But a new lawsuit filed by a Riverhouse tenant against The Riverhouse's developers could finally ding the condo's reputation. That's because the resident is alleging that the LEED Gold condominium is not delivering a LEED Gold living experience. Uh oh. The lawsuit seeks $5.3 million in damages and alleges that not only does the building's green HVAC system not provide adequate heat, but that many supposedly green features in each condo for sale are not in fact built to LEED Gold standards. The suit accuses The Riverhouse's developers, Sheldrake, of fraud. "This is an important first, and could set a precedent that real estate developers aren’t likely to like."David Roth writes at gbNYC. "Allegations against one green building’s developers for not delivering the green goods are gossip; a legal precedent establishing that a green building’s developer can be sued for (alleged) fraud and misrepresentation for not delivering the green goods is something that could change the way green building gets done." Our take is that while this might be bad news for The Riverhouse, Manhattan green condo listings are going to continue to be a hot item in the New York real estate scene -- both because people want the status that comes with a green Manhattan condo, but also because green building is just plain a good idea. In other words, the future for green condos in Manhattan looks bright. The future for The Riverhouse may be less so, at least reputation-wise -- condos are continuing to sell at a brisk clip through all this -- but if the past is any indication, this bulletproof condo should come through fine.