Fair Warning: ‘The John Lamb’ at the 119 Orchard Hotel Has Nightclub Written All Over it

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 at 5:18 am by
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Like all the hotels in Hell Square, 119 Orchard Street sure took its time. Construction has been terribly slow in recent years, thanks in large part to constant stop-work orders.

Five years after SAS Property Management (aka Shimon Avadi) tore down the tenement building, the incomplete hotel at 119 Orchard Street has finally undergone the full monty. The last of the netting and plywood has been removed from the project site. Now both sides of the structure are completely unencumbered, revealing two color schemes for bricks, almost as if they changed their minds halfway through construction.

Meanwhile, the sixteen-room hotel remains unnamed and with an ambiguous opening date. Equally shady in this arrested development is the ground floor commercial space. As previously reported, principal Joseph Valentine inked a lease over the summer, and is applying to open and run both the restaurant and roof terrace operation. His bid for a full liquor license for “The John Lamb” – formerly in the running for 119 Essex – is before Community Board 3 this month. Again. In the last year, the applicant appeared, then withdrew, at least a half-dozen times.

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Sorta shady.

Many in the vicinity feel that this 42-table, “American-style” concept is nothing but a ruse to install a legit nightclub. Indeed, Valentine’s apparent pedigree is all club based. His family owned and operated the Sphinx club at 51 West 46th Street and purchased the FireBird on midtown’s “Restaurant Row,” which he later ran from 2012 to 2014. Valentine also took over operations at Gully’s this past summer – a bar barge in Newburgh, New York.

Moreover, it’s most certainly worth noting here that Mr. Valentine was allegedly caught red-handed in a tax evasion scheme at his old place, The FireBird. As a result, he was forced to remit $35,621 in personal income tax liabilities to the state. His partner at the time, Nicholas Rotundo, pled guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands in tax money collected from customers.

Only a smidgen of this experience and/or public financial history is disclosed in application paperwork to Community Board 3.

SAS Property Management purchased 119 Orchard Street in 2008 for $4.2 million. Fine & Klein Handbags, a fixture on the block for four decades, closed its doors for good the year before.

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119 Orchard St., May 2010

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