AAA Ichiban Sushi on Orchard Street Closes Ahead of Ben Shaoul Development

Posted on: October 24th, 2014 at 5:25 am by
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The northeast corner of Orchard and East Houston is slowly giving up the ghost. As we’ve been reporting, controversial landlord Ben “Sledgehammer” Shaoul purchased the L-shaped low-rise strip and is gradually booting the businesses. We lost Bereket and Philly’s Cheese Steak over the summer; Taqueria will soon move up to St. Mark’s Place and received blessings from Community Board 3; and we learned earlier this month that Tiehama Grocery will likely fall sometime next month.

Next up – AAA Ichiban Sushi at 198 Orchard Street – which appears to be cleaning out its desk, so to speak. Appliances are unplugged, tables vanished, and decor deposed.

The first evidence of problems materialized Monday evening, when the gates were drawn during peak dinner hours. We called the restaurant and were told that, no, they weren’t closed and would reopen Thursday. So, we put in another jingle last night and were told to stop by on Monday (they hung up on us after disclosing that tidbit). Seamless and GrubHub are no longer taking orders, either. Safe to say a return is not happening.

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The remaining businesses on the block to close/move are Lobster Joint, Ray’s Pizza, Empanada Mama, Taqueria, 200 Orchard, Karaoke Boho, and Tiehama Grocery.

Shaoul reportedly acquired the parcels from the Magnano family (which owned and operated Ray’s Pizza). The principals of the new owner entity – MB/Reec Houston St LLC – are Marc Ravner and Mark Seigel. Marc and Mark are together a direct, traceable link into Magnum Real Estate Group, Shaoul’s company. In fact, Ravner is partner.

Given current zoning restrictions, it’s a safe bet that the new development here will rise the twelve-story limit.  Katz’s Deli owner Jake Dell had also confirmed that his air rights were sold, but wouldn’t disclose the buyer. While not confirmed, that transaction seems obvious enough. Could that spell a cantilever…?

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Prime meat for developers

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