Low ceilings. Columns in the living room. Drainage grates outside the windows.

What sounds like a Lower East Side tenement is actually a $53.5 million pair of Plaza penthouses bought by Russian hedge-fund manager Andrei Vavilov, who says the developer promised him the epitome of luxury and then handed over an “attic-like space.”

In a $31 million suit, Vavilov says the purchase – which would have represented the second-highest amount for a residential sale in New York City history – was the result of a bait-and-switch scam. Unlike The Plaza hotel of the children’s story “Eloise,” where rooms “embodied the height of elegance and sophistication, the same cannot be said of the penthouses,” said lawyer Y. David Scharf, who filed the suit Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“The disparity between what they were supposed to get and what [developer] El-Ad was planning to deliver to them is outrageous.”

Vavilov’s wife, Russian actress Maryana Tsaregradskaya, “burst into tears” when she first saw the finished unit on June 28.

The “expansive” middle floor of the triplex has a massive column in the center of the living room, photos taken during their walk-through show.

The promised floor-to-ceiling windows start three feet from the floor and have thick frames around each pane.

And what should be a sweeping view of Central Park is obstructed on the middle floor by a “hideous” drainage grate, which the suit says was not part of the plans presented to the couple.

Vavilov, a former Moscow lawmaker who made $600 million with the 2002 sale of his oil company, put down a $10.6 million deposit on the triplex and duplex units, which he planned to combine into one living space.

Vavilov says he was led to believe the ceilings would reach 12.5 feet on the middle floor. He ended up with barely nine.

The suit says developer El-Ad and its selling agent, Stribling, “intentionally concealed” all the alterations.

Scharf said the couple was refused access to the units and repeatedly told that no updated construction plans existed.

El-Ad lawyer Jay Neveloff said the suit is “baseless at its core.”

“The apartments as delivered are the apartments as described on the plans he reviewed and the contract he signed,” he said.

Additional reporting by Braden Keil

[email protected]