At 60% Occupancy, 196 Orchard Taps LES Gallerist for Revolving Lobby Art

Posted on: December 12th, 2019 at 5:08 am by

The synergy between high-end condos and galleries is on full display at Ben Shaoul’s Lower East Side condoplex.

It is here, in the lobby of 196 Orchard Street, that local gallerist Lesley Heller has been tapped to curate a revolving placement of art. The residency began this week. Heller – who runs her eponymous showroom at 54 Orchard – will be in the employ of Magnum Real Estate Group (Shaoul’s firm) through next year.

“The Lower East Side has always been an important hub for the art world,” Magnum partner Jordan Brill said in a statement. “The mix of graffiti, historic tenement buildings, multicultural shops and restaurants, alongside new, refined architecture that threads the streets, collectively tell an exciting story. Our building was carefully designed to pay homage to the rough luxe aesthetic of the neighborhood.”

Perhaps this partnership is to gain exposure to drive more condo sales. That is the goal of all “art washing,” after all.

Indeed, only 60% of the block-spanning development is sold.

March 2014

The mixed-use condo project at 196 Orchard took nearly five years from start to finish. Landlord Ben Shaoul, along with Real Estate Equities Corp., together purchased the gargantuan assemblage of twelve single-story stores in 2014 from the Magnano family (which owned and operated the Ray’s Pizza), plus the valuable air rights from Katz’s Deli, for a combined $75 million. (Katz’s Deli reportedly made off with $17 million of the total.)

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