RXR Realty has filed a lawsuit against its development partner Renaissance Downtowns, calling into question the future of major revitalization projects in the Village of Hempstead and Huntington Station.
“No meaningful development has occurred on the proposed projects and, in light of the irreconcilable differences between RXR and Renaissance, the projects will not be going forward and will not be completed,” RXR said in the suit, filed Wednesday in Nassau County Supreme Court. “... RXR does not trust Renaissance, and can no longer do business with Renaissance.”
The firms have been partners on the two redevelopment efforts, operating as a single entity, RDRXR LLC, according to court documents.
Uniondale-based RXR alleges in the lawsuit that Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns “incurred expenses and/or spent Company funds totaling in excess of $2.1 million” as of October 2017 “without RXR’s knowledge or consent.” Since then, Renaissance has increased its “improper and unauthorized expenditures by more than $1 million,” RXR said in the suit. It is seeking at least $9 million in damages.
Attorney Sean McAloon of Rivkin Radler, who represents Renaissance Downtowns, said Thursday, “We do not believe there is any merit to RXR’s claims.”
The issues the partnership is experiencing "arise from differing internal views on certain aspects of a large project," McAloon said. He said that Renaissance has started arbitration with a neutral third party. "My client is confident that this will all be worked out amicably.”
RXR declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Under an agreement between the two firms, unanimous approval is needed to set a budget, incur expenses and enter contracts, the lawsuit said. RXR alleges that Renaissance “breached that trust.”
According to the suit, Renaissance had used RDRXR’s funds to pay an affiliate of Renaissance, Crowdsourced Placemakers LLC, and spent “very significant” amounts of RDRXR’s money as part of a “misguided political strategy in last year’s mayoral race in the Village of Hempstead.”
RXR said in its complaint that Renaissance backed "the losing candidate," incumbent Wayne Hall Sr., and denigrated the candidate that won, unnecessarily “alienating the new political establishment” in Hempstead and putting the project in jeopardy.
Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan said in a statement that the village “is reviewing the lawsuit but as a rule does not comment on any litigation matters.”
“We’ll have our attorneys look to see if it has any implications for the town’s relationship with these two companies,” Huntington Town Board member Mark Cuthbertson said.
Renaissance Downtowns announced plans in 2011 for a $2.5 billion redevelopment project to be built over 10 years in downtown Hempstead, including apartments, shops, an entertainment center and parking along Main Street.
Last year, Renaissance completed construction on the first part of a multiphase effort to revitalize Huntington Station. Other parts of that proposed project include a hotel, a mixed-use building, and artist lofts along New York Avenue.