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 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

10-Story ODA Condos Amidst Ascent on Chrystie Street

Ten stories of additional upper-crust glitz is on its way for the Chrystie Street midsection… Indeed, the ODA-designed condo at 165 Chrystie Street started its ascent last month, and is progressing upward quite quickly. As of now, the structure is sitting at over six stories. This sudden burst in activity follows more than a year […]

Celebrating 50 Years of ‘A.N. Headwear’ on Orchard Street

A.N. Headwear is throwing its hat into the art exhibit ring. Longtime Greek Jewish community member, Aris Negrin, has peddled hats for fifty years on upper Orchard Street. At the same address, in fact – 145 Orchard. He initially amassed his collection from hat warehouses or hat stores, being particularly drawn to pieces that people brushed […]

CB3 Votes to Co-Sponsor Controversial Rezoning of LES Waterfront in Bid to Thwart Supertall Development

Thanks to a confluence of election year politics and incessant grassroots organizing, development along the Lower East Side waterfront is firmly in the spotlight. It’s a rare moment when the voice of the people is being heard, albeit barely. There is definitely traction, but a race against the clock is afoot. Nevertheless, Community Board 3 […]

‘HiFi’ on Avenue A will Close at the End of the Month

The best jukebox in Alphabet City will be muted. The HiFi Bar, the long-running rock hang on Avenue A, is closing at the end of the month. Its current incarnation lasted since 2002, when the bar morphed from Brownies. Owner Mike Stuto, who began booking shows at Brownies in 1994 and later returned as partner, […]

‘Ginger & Lemongrass’ Eyes Rivington Street Debut this Weekend

After a build-out period of more than five months, including utilities-based delays, a new Vietnamese restaurant is all but ready to open on Rivington Street. The newcomer here is an offshoot of the Queens-based Ginger & Lemongrass, described by owner-chef Petra Rickman as a contemporary Vietnamese fusion restaurant. Having debuted in Whitestone just last year – […]