Developer Michael Bolla Rescues Judaica Shop

In the last couple of years, we’ve been following the plight of Israel Wholesale Imports, at 23 Essex Street.  Heidi Yousef has run the Judaica store for the past 15 years, but last month she finally made the decision to call it quits.  Not so fast.  Michael Bolla, the real estate developer behind the Madison Jackson building, is coming to the rescue.

In the Jewish Daily Forward, Bolla, an observant Jew, explains why he felt compelled to step in: “I was literally walking by the store and I saw this woman standing [outside] with these old candlesticks… and I said, ‘Darling, what are you doing?’ She said, ‘I have no customers.’ And I said, ‘You are not going to get them like this, darling.”

Morning Reads: More on Madison Jackson, Schools Get a Boost, The Voice’s Sex-Trafficking Scandal Heats Up

  • Developer Michael Bolla is hoping his current project, the new condo conversion at Madison Jackson, will aid in “a revival of the neighborhood’s historic but dwindling Jewish community” (NYT).
  • City Councilmember Margaret Chin joins the protest against sex-trafficking outside Village Voice headquarters — along with the son of Voice co-founder Norman Mailer (Capital NY).
  • Governor Cuomo and Shelly Silver agree on adding a 4% increase for school funding in this year’s state budget (which is expected to be voted into law today). Some school advocates say it won’t make up for cuts made in the last two years (Businessweek).
  • Iggy’s Bar on Ludlow makes it on to BlackBook’s list of quintessential “Dumps, Dives and Holes” (BB).
  • Ben Stiller and friends will be on East 10th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D next week, shooting the re-make of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (EV Grieve).

Broker Michael Bolla Talks About the Madison Jackson

371 Madison Street. Photo: Prudential Douglas Elliman.

The other day we headed over to the Madison-Jackson, the new condo project near Corlears Hook Park, to check in with Michael Bolla, the high profile real estate broker handling sales.  There are 110 loft-like apartments in the 1908 school building, which has been vacant since the early 1980’s.  The units won’t be on the market for a few more weeks, but Bolla is all set-up in a ground floor apartment/office with a view of the Vladeck Houses.

As the Wall Street Journal reported a few weeks ago, the building, 371 Madison, was purchased by Chinatown banker Thomas Sung in 1983, but remained untouched until recently.  Bolla is known for handling an impressive roster of celebrity clients, including Hugh Jackman, Isabella Rossellini, Denzel Washington and Jennifer Aniston.  He’s no stranger to selling high-end apartments on the Lower East Side. In 2006, Bolla was the exclusive agent for The Forward Building.

Art Opening to Be Held Tomorrow Night at “Madison-Jackson”

Earlier this month, we reported on the “Madison-Jackson,” a luxury condo development in an old school building across from the Vladeck Houses.  The building includes many amenities, including a rotating art exhibition program in the ground-floor common area.  Today there’s news of the first art opening in the converted space.

“Celebrity real estate guru and developer” Michael Bolla has put out a press release talking up the new building in general and the art happening in particular.  There will be an opening preview of photographer R.L. Ireland’s “The Five Elements,” tomorrow evening from 6-8 at 371 Madison.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Sylvia Center, which promotes healthy nutrition in children.