Burned-Out Remnants of Longtime SoHo Fruit Stand Removed
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There is no longer much evidence of the former Honest Boy Fruit Stand on East Houston Street, which closed in December 2014 after decades in business. In the wake of last month’s fire, its charred carcass – ironwork that apparently dates back to the 1950s – was finally pried from the facade (demolition permits were filed two weeks ago). What remains is a violent outline of its former footprint.
Hollister’s brown billboard remains smoke-stained.
One Louis Arenas opened Honest Boy here back in 1980. Business was sustainable, yet the city tried three times to push ’em out. An article published in the New York Times in 2000 notes that the MTA wanted to convert the spot into a maintenance lot for its vehicles. “In 1984, when the Metropolitan Transit Authority refused to renew the lease after it purchased the plot, community groups saved the business. When an electrical substation was proposed in 1992, hundreds of protesters derailed the project.” Arenas fell ill in 2004 and sold the operation to one Pan Gi Lee, who continued the tradition.
The MTA ultimately won, though. It finally sold the 6,190 square-foot parcel (address is 19 East Houston) in 2013 to Madison Capital for $26 million. Said developer is planning a six-story commercial office building that also boasts retail on the ground floor. The finished product will carry a total floor area of 30,799 square-feet.
And now the site is ready for its multimillion-dollar makeover, as construction permits were coincidentally filed a few days before the blaze. Any day now.