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
This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

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

Sauce on the Sidelines for Another Month (at Least)

Still on the sidelines, Sauce might soon return. Workers busy with renovations inside the Rivington Street restaurant said to expect a reopening sometime “next month.” Given the apparent state of the interior, though, that seems ambitious. You’ll recall that a kitchen fire at the end of December knocked out the locals favorite (Monday nights half […]

‘Spreadhouse Cafe’ Closes After 5 Years on Suffolk Street

Spreadhouse Cafe is no more. The establishment closed down last week after spending five years at 116 Suffolk Street. A two-by-three grid of graphic printouts – featuring an image of Bartman in pose – announces the closure (“for now”) and to “stay tuned” for whatever might be next. So far, there are no updates on […]

With Kushner Likely Out, Hotel on Rivington Listed for $70M

It would appear that Kushner Companies is no longer under contract to purchase the Hotel on Rivington. The firm had entered into an agreement to acquire the twenty-story glass eyesore last November for $65 million. Six months later, the real estate firm filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court demanding that hotel ownership (Paul […]

Art Pigeon of Elizabeth Street Garden Stars in Next Season of HBO’s The Deuce

When both sides of the street are lined with 1970s gas-guzzlers, it could only mean one thing. HBO’s The Deuce is filming in the ‘hood. Viewers flocked to the first and second season of the Time Square series for a look at the seedier side of the city. Now that the show is transitioning into […]

Landlord Raphael Toledano Settles Harassment Lawsuit for $3M and Other Penalties

Controversial landlord Raphael Toledano, long a perpetrator of harassment in his residential properties, must now pay the piper. Attorney General Letitia James yesterday announced a settlement with Toledano for $3 million in damages and penalties. An independent monitor will also oversee his real estate holdings to ensure fraud and harassment has ceased. Nor is he […]