Breaking: Katz’s Deli Sells Its Air Rights But It’s Not Going Anywhere

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 at 11:23 am by
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First, the great news. The future of Katz’s Deli is safe. Owner Jake Dell assures us that all is well, while simultaneously disclosing that the 126-year-old Jewish deli just sold off its valuable air rights. “I’m not going anywhere … now I can protect [Katz’s],” the 27-year-old proprietor says.

The timing of this release is somewhat curious, though, and already causing tsuris. We just reported this morning that pretty much the whole block at Orchard and East Houston was just sold off. Likely buyer, Ben Shaoul. Also, the fact that Taqueria on Orchard Street seeks a new location; and, of course, the fall of Bereket and Philly’s Cheese Steak back in June. When asked whether the sale of air rights was related to what is happened next door, Dell couldn’t give us an answer.

Could this mean some sort of cantilever action? The 2008 Lower East Side rezoning (C6-2A) only allows for up to twelve stories here (120 feet).

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Prime meat for developers

While a bit unsettling, it’s certainly great to know that Katz’s Deli will be safe from developers trying to force them out. After all, rumors of their demise seemed to happen every few years in the last decade.

Dell also noted:

The most important thing is that the future of Katz’s is secure — at the end of the day, no developer can ever come in and knock us down to put in a high rise. At no point will anyone value the corner of Houston and Ludlow for anything other than Katz’s Delicatessen. A year after our 125th anniversary, this will help ensure that we can see our 150th, and hopefully many more to come.

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