January 29, 2009 / 12:21 AM / 9 years ago

Infamous New York Plaza penthouse back on market

NEW YORK (Reuters) - That $53.5 million New York penthouse apartment, derided by its last owner as "attic-like" with oppressive ceilings and a terrible view of Central Park, is back on the market.

The buyer of the apartment in New York's famed Plaza Hotel, home to the children's book character "Eloise," has ended his legal battle with the building's developers in a confidential settlement, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Y. David Scharf, who represents Russian financier Andrei Vavilov, said the two sides had reached an agreement on Tuesday but he declined to elaborate.

The real estate website StreetEasy.com now shows that the apartment -- made up of two separate penthouses built on top of the Plaza -- was still on the market with no buyers having closed, the New York Times reported.

Representatives for developer El-Ad Properties and broker Stribling & Associates were not available for comment.

In a breach of contract lawsuit filed last year against El-Ad and Stribling, Vavilov said he expected more for the price he paid.

He complained the apartment was "attic-like" with small windows, low ceilings, obstructed views and ugly drainage grates. He demanded the return of his $10.7 million deposit and $30 million in damages.

In a counter suit, El-Ad accused Vavilov of libel and demanded $36 million in damages.

The Plaza overlooks Central Park and has inspired writers such as Kay Thompson, author of the "Eloise" stories about a 6-year-old girl who lived at the hotel, and Neil Simon, who wrote the Broadway play and hit film "Plaza Suite."

The hotel, opened in 1907, has been owned by moguls such as Conrad Hilton and Donald Trump.

After $400 million worth of renovations, the Plaza reopened last March as a mixture of hotel rooms and condominiums. The penthouses for sale were advertised as magnificent "one of a kind" properties.

Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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