Reader Report: 151-153 Ludlow Changes Hands, Fate of Stores Hangs in the Balance

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 at 5:11 am by
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We spoke too soon. Local fans of free art might be sad to learn that the Inutlious Retailer won’t survive the summer. The fundraiser kickstarted earlier this month to help will rent was for naught.

British photographer Adrian Wilson, the shop’s owner, explained in an email that his lease on 151 Ludlow Street terminates on July 31. A hand-printed sign in the window also confirms this.

“I was put on a month to month lease in January because the building was being put up for sale and they told me they couldn’t guarantee how long I could stay, so 6 months was a good run,” Wilson says.

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You see, rumor has it that 151-153 Ludlow Street recently changed hands for upwards of $14 million. The seller, Arwen Equities/Luthien Group, had allegedly been peddling the two properties on the open market for months. The former will require lots of renovation activity as several units are in ruins. However, as of this writing, we couldn’t find any record of the transaction in the city database just yet. If the sale indeed transpired, it was probably an off-market deal or backroom shuffle.

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One of the ruined apartments inside 151 Ludlow St.

Another hurdle here, aside from the tenants upstairs, is La Margarita Pizza, whose owner purchased the business from “famous” Hakki, and allegedly has three years remaining on the lease. Their presence could hold up any potential development and/or upscaling, especially given that a purported buyout wasn’t taken. Apparently the two holdout tenants living upstairs don’t have leases, either.

Wilson parked the Inutilous Retailer on Ludlow Street last summer, as previously reported. It’s a utopian retail vision in which people can take any art from the store, but must create a replacement piece to swap using the stamps and other supplies in the “secret” back room. No money changes hands. The only cost to the patron is time itself. Now the good times are coming to an end.

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