New York City real estate tycoon has no plans to move on Cuomo’s plan at Penn Station



Steve Roth, an 80-year-old billionaire real estate tycoon, has a dream.

With the blessing of Governor Andrew Cuomo, he wants to wipe out much of the area around Penn Station and build 10 skyscrapers

But 92-year-old Arnold Gumowitz is ready to destroy the hopes of a relative predator.

The real estate mogul owns 421 Seventh Avenue, an office building across from Madison Square Garden that will need to be demolished if Roth’s controversial glass and steel supervisors emerge.

But Gumowitz doesn’t want to sell the 15-story building he bought 43 years ago. Here he runs his commercial real estate empire and still comes to work with his son every day.

He also definitely doesn’t want to be torn down by an outstanding property, an opportunity he recently learned about when he saw plans for a project with a drawing of a roughly 80-story tower in place of his own building.

“I seek justice, but when someone attacks me, I answer,” Gumowitz told The Post. “This is the property of a generation. This is also a piece of real New York. I also don’t like it when this area becomes another impersonal Hudson Yard, where there is nothing but tall buildings and no sunshine. “

Since the state declared the area “contaminated,” a year ago, Vornado Realty Rota and Empire State Development Corp (ESD) – the government agency that runs the project for Cuomo – have the authority to demolish certain blocks in the designated area. At least 200 people will lose their homes and 9,000 employees will be out of work if the project is completed.

Steve Roth's Vornado Realty and New York State want to demolish the Gumowitz and other buildings near Penn Station to build new skyscrapers.
Steve Roth’s Vornado Realty and New York State want to demolish the Gumowitz and other buildings near Penn Station to build new skyscrapers.
Matthew McDermott for NY Post

The Gumowitz building is at a critical location for the planned Empire Station project: it is in an area where the state wants to build a subway entrance and widen the sidewalk.

Government officials, although they doubted whether they would take the Gumovits building to a prominent place, indicated in recent community council hearing on the question of what is a card they could play if they had to.

But in order to tap into a prominent area, the ESD plan will have to go through another vetting process and public hearings, said the official, who did not want to be named.

They could also acquire the building through an arranged sale.

“Good luck with that,” said Evan Cooper, who spent 23 years at AAG Management, a real estate management firm in Gumowitz.

“Roth and this project approach Arnold like a speeding train,” Cooper said. “But they don’t understand that Arnold is a stationary object.”

Building 421 Seventh Avenue Gumowitz.
Building 421 Seventh Avenue Gumowitz.
Matthew McDermott for NY Post

Built in 1921, the Gumowitz building is an affordable address where accountants and therapists can have their own small private offices. His business occupies the top two floors, including the dance floor, where he enjoyed practicing tango with his late wife Anna.

It is across the street from the Pennsylvania Hotel, which is owned by Roth and plans to demolish. But he still needs the site where the Gumowitz building is located for the project to proceed as intended.

Like many in the area, Gumowitz did not even know the details of the so-called Empire Station Complex a plan that would allow Vornado and other unnamed developers to build towers while he read about it in The Post in March. The new structures are expected to generate income to pay for the renovation of Penn Station, which is supported by Cuomo.

State plans for "Empire Station."
State plans for the Imperial Station Complex.
Empire State Development

The towers – including five so-called “super-tall” towers up to 1,300 feet and two over 900 feet – will surround the 34th Street train station in a two-block radius. Opponents say the project is a waste of work that will give Roth tax breaks for buildings and impress its shareholders, but can’t do much to improve Penn Station.

Gumowitz, his son, Gary, and Cooper have hired lawyers specializing in prominent domain threats to investigate. They are especially frustrated that the prominence of the outstanding domain turns off potential tenants.

A Vornado spokesperson referred to calls to ESD, which did not respond to an email from The Post.

Gumowitz named Stephen Roth's proposal for construction "offensive price."
Gumowitz called Stephen Roth’s proposal for construction “an insulting price”.
Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gumowitz met with Roth twice to find out about him. They once dined at Roth’s sumptuous excavation site at 220 Central Park South, on Billionaire’s Row, where they ate boiled salmon in the library, surrounded by Roth’s expensive art collection. “We’re two poor kids from the Bronx,” Gumowitz told The Post with a laugh.

Gumowitz then invited Roth to a conference room at 421 Seventh Avenue for tuna sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. Gumowitz said Roth offered an “offensive price” for the building, so “Why should I sell?”

Gumowitz, who has become a multimillionaire, goes his own way. He grew up with his family on a $ 20 a month walk in the East Bronx and started selling homemade ice cream from a shop he opened with his brother when he was 21. Grossinger in the Catskills, rose to assistant manager and met the waitress Anna, who became his wife for 62 years.

In 1958, he studied a book called “How I Turned $ 1000 into Real Estate in My Free Time” William Nickerson and, with an investment of $ 10,000, has grown a real estate portfolio of more than 40 buildings in New York and beyond.

Arnold Gumowitz, 92, still enjoys coming to work every day in a building in midtown Manhattan.
Arnold Gumowitz, 92, still enjoys working every day in a building in midtown Manhattan.
Matthew McDermott for NY Post

Gumowitz lost Anna in 2017. Last summer, his longtime lawyer died, and he says he had a lot of litigation for him. But he still loves coming to work and has no plans to retire or move, fuck Cuomo and Roth.

“I love being able to just go to the Garden to watch the Knicks play,” he said. “I love that I don’t even have to call people addresses. I can just say we’re a block from Macy’s. We have a unique home here.

“Let them try to get me out.”


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