Ben Shaoul Project Site on Orchard Street Turns Up 1800s-Era Artifacts

Posted on: February 16th, 2016 at 9:44 am by

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Scott Jordan and his Assistant (at left), Photo: Clayton Patterson

​Before the heavy earth moving was underway at the corner of East Houston and Orchard Streets, one urban archaeologist gained access to the Ben Shaoul-owned project site.

Scott Jordan, who specializes in digging up old privies (aka shit-houses), discovered several artifacts five feet below the surface. The finds – first reported by The Villager – seemed to date back to the 1860s, including a ceramic ginger beer bottle, meerschaum clay tobacco pipes, and plate fragments. Any feces have long decayed.

Outhouse vaults often doubled as garbage disposals during their 19th-century heyday.

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Privy finds, Photo: Clayton Patterson

Meanwhile, as previously reported, the new ten-story development at 196 Orchard Street sports 94 luxury apartments, split between studios (555 square-feet) and one-bedrooms (655 square-feet). It’s positioned as a “mid-market luxury condo” investment, with costs starting at “just under” $1 million for the former and $1.23 million for the latter. An Equinox gym will also take up residence here.

Ben “Sledgehammer” Shaoul, along with Real Estate Equities Corp., together purchased this gargantuan assemblage of single-story stores for a combined $75 million. Included in tha tamount is the valuable air rights secured from Katz’s Deli. Shaoul’s acquisition was made possible thanks to a cash injection of $97 million from SL Green.

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