It cost $20 million to evict the last four tenants of a Manhattan apartment building to renovate it. The last tenant was so stubborn and savvy that he received $17 million of the money, plus use of a $2 million condo for life.

Hotel hermit got $17M to make way for 15 Central Park West

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In 2004, developers Will and Arthur Zeckendorf bought the famed Mayflower Hotel and several adjacent lots on the Upper West Side for just over $400 million, with the goal of creating the city’s most exclusive residential building — 15 Central Park West. Only one thing stood in their way: A 73-year-old recluse named Herb Sukenik, who refused to move from the hotel. In this excerpt from his new book, “House of Outrageous Fortune” (Altria Books), author Michael Gross reveals the most expensive eviction in New York City history.

After buying the Mayflower Hotel, the Zeckendorf brothers were legally responsible for buying out and even relocating those living in rent-controlled apartments in the top floors — residents whose … Continue Reading