City Stops Demolition of Fine & Klein Building

The Real Deal, November 2008

Walking past the former home of Fine & Klein Handbags on Orchard Street yesterday, I noticed one of those ominous Department of Buildings citations attached to the metal drop-down gate. It read: WORK WITHOUT A DEMO PERMIT- 3 & 4 FLOOR DEMOLISHED WITHOUT A PERMIT. STOP ALL DEMOLITION WORK. OBTAIN PERMIT.

Sure enough, according to the Department of Buildings web site, there’s a “stop work order” on the building, 119 Orchard. You may recall (or not) Shimon Avadi of SAS Property Management bought the 4-story building in 2008 for $4.3 million, intending to tear it down and put up a 10-story boutique hotel in its place.

The Real Deal, November 2008

You can see by the photo the Real Deal used in their story on the project a year-and-a-half-ago that the building has received something of a clip job. Last June, the DOB rejected an application from the developer for a 10-story “mixed-use building with residential, a hotel and eating and drinking” establishment.

In that Real Deal Story, Laurie Tobias Cohen of the LES Jewish Conservancy called Fine & Klein an institution. (I can attest to this since my mom always made a pilgrimage to this shop on her New York visits – and mom knows!) The store was put on the market in 2007, after Murray Klein died. Oh yeah, and then there’s this:

In February 1995, the longtime partnership was marred by tragedy when Fine’s younger son, Stephen, was charged with hiring a hit man to kill Klein, according to the Daily News. In August of that year, the paper reported that Stephen died of complications from a brain hemorrhage at City Hospital Center at Elmhurst after being transferred there from Rikers Island, after a long series of illnesses.