Along the south side of East Houston Street, between Attorney and Ridge streets, bright green grass flanked by graffiti’d walls occupies a big hole in the concrete jungle of storefronts and apartment buildings. The large fenced lot, which measures 50 feet by 100 feet, is part of the portfolio of reclusive real estate baron William Gottlieb and recently came on the market at $9.5 million. Here’s the Misrahi Realty listing, via Loopnet:
Prime Development deal on East Houston. 50 feet of frontage on East Houston. (Additional sq footage available.) 30,000 sq feet usable (additional sq footage possible) … Neighbors include: Schillers, Clinton St Baking Co, Falai, Dessert Truck, Frankie’s Spuntino, Alias, Rivington Hotel, Ed’s Lobster
City real estate records show that both properties fell into the possession of the city government following foreclosures, but eventually wound up in the hands of Gottlieb, who was legendary for hoarding his estimated $1 billion worth of NYC properties. Gottlieb died in 1999; after a drawn-out legal battle for control of his estate, his nephew Neil Bender is now disposing of many of the empire’s holdings. (Read more about the Gottlieb family drama over at Curbed.)
Records indicate Gottlieb acquired 327 East Houston St. from the New York City government at public auction in 1999 for $300,000.
The property next door was originally purchased from the city by a company called Gilco Real Estate at public auction in 1977 for $3,000; Gottlieb subsequently acquired it in 1984. (No sales price was recorded, which may mean it changed ownership without payment, or simply that city records that far back are incomplete).
Gottlieb’s enormous portfolio was dominated by holdings in the Meatpacking District and West Village, but in addition to the two lots on East Houston, two other vacant lots he controlled on the Lower East Side have also recently been listed by Misrahi: 139 Attorney St., at $1.5 million and 166 Attorney St., at $2.75 million.
The 5,500-square-foot lot at 139 Attorney abuts the Nathan Strauss playground and has been vacant so long that it sports mature trees. Gottlieb bought it in 1984 from a private owner, according to city records.
The 10,000-square-foot lot at 166 Attorney, a mid-block building next door to an auto repair garage, was foreclosed on by the city in 1978. Gottlieb bought it at auction for $31,500 in 1996, according to records.
The market for vacant lots around the Lower East Side has seen some movement in recent months. In August, we brought you news of the development of a new condo project slated for the corner of Delancey and Pitt Streets, where a lot sold for $8.5 million. And in September, we learned that the long-neglected building lot at the corner of Grand and Orchard streets sold for $4.8 million.