Murano residents: Occupancy a mirage

In November 2005, when Jeffrey Boyle inquired about buying a unit in the Murano, a new 43-story Center City condominium building, he was allegedly told 60 percent of the units were pre-sold.

A month later, prospective buyers Lawrence Goral and Joseph-Bernard Snyder were reportedly told it was 70 percent sold and that the north side of the building was completely sold out.

Those varying figures are at the root of a lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of 51 owners who claim they were lied to by developers, brokers and salespeople about how many of the 302 units were sold and the availability of parking spaces and floor to ceiling windows.

“The central point is that they misled buyers about the level of units sold,” said attorney Andrew Chirls, of Haines & Associates, which filed the lawsuit. “A unit in a building that has sold 70 percent, for example, is worth more than a unit in a building that has sold 20 percent.”

The lawsuit names Thomas Properties Group, two other developers, Asher Kahn Realty and a marketing company as defendants. It does not specify the amount of damages the plaintiffs are seeking.

In June 2009, TPG auctioned off 40 units to help jump-start sales. At that point, a marketing employee told Metro nearly 43 percent of the building was sold. Yesterday, TPG did not return calls for comment.

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