In 2014, four tenants refused to move out of their homes when developers wanted to create one of the most exclusive residences in Manhattan. Eventually, they all received huge payouts. The last tenant was so savvy and stubborn he received $17 million, plus use of a $2 million residence for life.

Hermit Herbert Sukenik ‘paid £10 million’ to move out of ‘mould-covered’ New York room

A reclusive man was paid a reported $17 million (£10.2 million) by developers to leave his damp, cluttered and cramped apartment at the top of a New York hotel, a new book has claimed.

Herbert Sukenik was one of four elderly men refusing to move out of their rent controlled residences in the Mayflower Hotel after prominent real estate developers the Zeckendorf brothers purchased the building for $400 million (£239 million) in 2004.

The hotel was eventually transformed into 15 Central Park West, an exclusive block of apartments now home to famous figures such as Denzel Washington and Sting.

Unmarried Mr Sukenik reportedly refused to move out of his “mould-covered” 350-square-foot room at the top of the hotel for two years, forcin… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

12 thoughts on “In 2014, four tenants refused to move out of their homes when developers wanted to create one of the most exclusive residences in Manhattan. Eventually, they all received huge payouts. The last tenant was so savvy and stubborn he received $17 million, plus use of a $2 million residence for life.”

  1. GrizeldaGrundle

    I Love this story. There is a great book about these types of situations in NYC. It’s called “Holdouts” by Andrew Alpern (he wrote based on the accounts of Seymour Durst, who was a prolific and extremely wealthy developer, and yes, Robert Durst’s dad)

  2. MumbleCorn

    These holdouts were already quite wealthy, or at least upper middle class, and living in a very nice part of Manhattan, even in the 80s. This is not a rags to riches story but a riches to more riches story.

  3. redduif

    Imagine the profits they made, if 17 million plus what the others got was just like tipping money…

  4. ObviouslyKatie

    In my hometown, a hospital was buying up surrounding property so that they could expand. My dad’s friend was the last holdout. This guy was real poor, didn’t have much going on, but he did own this house, so he was keeping it. He held out for years, turning down offer after offer on his house that could not have even been worth $100k. That is, if it weren’t for the fact that the hospital wanted it.

    He eventually accepted $300,000. We were so happy for him. My dad was like, “Can you believe it? On Friday, this guy had $12 in his bank account. And now, he has $300,012.”

    He bought a new house for maybe $50k. He wanted to stay in the area (which was not “nice”) to look after his sick friend. He was a kimd, simple guy.

    He died about a year later, I think. Rest in Peace, D.

  5. WhileFalseRepeat

    The four tenants lived in the Mayflower Hotel which eventually became a luxury condominium. According to the article, some had lived there for 30 years.

    The building’s location, described as “the most expensive site in Manhattan” comprises an entire, albeit small, city block on Central Park West on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, formerly occupied by the somewhat dilapidated Mayflower Hotel (a 1926 Neo-Renaissance building designed by the architect Emery Roth) and a vacant lot.

    15 Central Park West is considered by some to be one of New York’s most prestigious residential addresses.

    Notable residents have included actors Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, and Kelsey Grammer; musician Sting; television writer and producer Norman Lear; baseball player Alex Rodriguez; NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon; and sportscaster Bob Costas.

    Several chief executives have lived at 15 Central Park West, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill; former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond; former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang; former Warner Bros president Alan F. Horn; and hedge fund managers Daniel Loeb and Daniel Och.

    [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15\_Central\_Park\_West](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_Central_Park_West)

    **EDIT: The article was published in 2014, but apparently these events happened circa 2004.**

  6. Sshalebo

    Happens in China all the time. When news spread that a certain neighbourhood is to be repurposed by the state people scramble to build new floors and rooms to their houses because they typically are compensated based on such factors and then they hold out for as long as possible and watch those numbers rise.

    It’s such a long game sometimes wrecking crews demolish everything around the holdout and subsequent construction leaves the house in the middle of the road. Sometimes called “nail houses”.

  7. poolboyyyyyyy

    Damn, and I can barely negotiate with fast food employees when they forget my fries.

  8. OlyScott

    Douglas MacArthur’s father was named Arthur MacArthur jr. and his son was named Arthur MacArthur IV. Why?

  9. ihate2009

    so what you’re saying is to HOLD??

  10. goldatmosphere

    Similar thing happened to this old guy I know, he was the last house and the mad lad used his payout to buy thousands of balloons which he….

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