Ben Shaoul, the young developer who has emerged as the East Village’s most despised landlord, is apparently expanding his real estate empire into the Lower East Side. In June, he bought three contiguous buildings on Ludlow Street between Stanton and Houston, according to city land records.
In a package deal dated June 11, corporate entities under Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group’s name purchased apartment buildings at 163, 165 and 167 Ludlow St. for a total of $16.5 million, records show.
It’s a significant acquisition for Shaoul, whose high-profile deals (and controversies) have been concentrated mostly in the East Village of late — though he has developed properties all over Manhattan, including renovations of old tenements and new construction. This year, he has come under fire from his tenants and local community leaders for a variety of reasons: stranding an East Fourth Street resident without a staircase, ousting low-income seniors from Cabrini Nursing Home and dodging landmark restrictions by mere hours on East 10th Street, to list just a few of his headlines.
In a lengthy profile in The New York Times last month, which opened with “Ben Shaoul doesn’t understand why people hate him. But hate him they do,” Shaoul outlined his M.O.: “You basically take buildings that haven’t been touched in a long time and you revamp them and you hope to get higher rents.”
The Ludlow Street buildings, all walk-ups built in the early 20th century, each contain between 15 and 20 apartments, with commercial spaces on the ground floor that include Las Venus, a vintage furniture store, at 163 Ludlow and the former home of the Darkroom bar at 165 Ludlow.