Report: Ben Shaoul Purchases Lot of Low-Rise Buildings on East Houston for Development; Businesses to Vacate in May

Posted on: March 17th, 2014 at 5:19 am by

east-houston-low-rise

Relish that open air spanning the one block of East Houston from Orchard to Ludlow Streets; savor the flavor of Bereket, Empanada Mama, and Ray’s Pizza. Word is, it will soon disappear. In all likelihood, Hell Building part deux is probably on the way.

At the end of December last year, we reported on some rumors that the notorious slumlord Ben “Sledgehammer” Shaoul was in contract (or close) to acquire the properties occupied by 196-198 Orchard and 187 East Houston. Now the talk has gone from whispers to shouting. We hear he’s pretty busy in this neck of the woods, and his intentions are much more alarming than previously believed.

Reliable sources allege that Shaoul just bought the entire lot of single-story buildings along this strip, and that lease buyouts were offered to merchants operating in these stores. Apparently commercial tenants have until May to vacate.

This is an absolute game changer, opening up a nice chunky “L” for some serious development. From what we understand, the portfolio purchased includes Bereket and around the corner to Karaoke Boho on Orchard (Katz’s not affected).

No sales are currently on file with the city for this address; DOB is also silent.

les-zoning

What’s worrisome is that the 2008 rezoning is not so favorable to East Houston. In this new C6-2A district (Houston, west of Essex), developers are permitted to build up to twelve stories (or 120 feet). That’s with inclusionary housing [PDF].

Said one of our tipsters, “it’s hard to imagine a single block is being subjected to such a massive unwanted upheaval (with absolutely no benefit to the residents).”

In light of this purported monster deal, it’s rather appropriate to mention here that the Sledge is currently being sued by his own parents. Mom and pop allege that Ben treats Magnum Real Estate (the family company) like a “personal piggy bank,” and misappropriated millions from refinanced mortgages on properties he co-owned with them.

Recent Stories

Taking a Quick Yo-Yo Break on the Bowery [VIDEO]

A contractor on the Bowery yesterday morning sure brought his Yo-Yo game… We watched this man, presumably on break from one of the myriad construction projects nearby, effortlessly swing around his Yo-Yo. (Get your mind outta the gutter.) Tangling and dangling the toy without messing up, either. Meanwhile, most pedestrians ambled past the sidewalk performer […]

‘Happy Wok’ on Endangered List as its Delancey Street Space Hits the Market for $13K

For a stretch of retail on borrowed time, 156-164 Delancey Street sure stays fresh with commercial turnover. Indeed, within the last eighteen months, a dollar pizza joint and Coco bubble tea dispensary signed leases. Not to mention, Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless. However, one of the stalwarts on this low-rise block might soon fade into […]

Schiller’s Liquor Bar Neons Deposed from Rivington Street

It finally happened. Now one week removed from the closure of Schiller’s Liquor Bar, down comes the neon signage. Reader Mary Kalemkerian sent us the above image of the “Liquor Bar” signage deposed and sitting on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. As previously reported, the fourteen-year-old bar succumbed to a substantial rent hike, […]

Shepard Fairey will Replace Joey Ramone with a Debbie Harry Mural on Bleecker Street

Yesterday afternoon, the two-year-old Joey Ramone mural was whitewashed from the Bleecker Street facade of Saxon + Parole. Two dudes were spotted erasing the artwork with a bucket of beige paint. But it apparently won’t stay blank for long. Word on the street is that Shepard Fairey is on deck to paint the replacement over […]

LES Crepes & Taqueria Wraps Around Hester Street with New Annex

LES Crepes & Taqueria just unveiled its newly improved eat space on Essex Street. Customers are now forced to enter the premises at the corner. No more ordering and waiting for food on the sidewalk. One of the workers explained his pleasure with putting the claustrophobia in the past. By breaking down the wall to […]