Why Michael Shah’s Co-Working Bar ‘Orchard Street Social’ is a Bad Idea for Hell Square

Posted on: May 13th, 2016 at 5:14 am by
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After sitting vacant for two years, the ground level store at 130 Orchard Street (formerly Daniel’s Leather) is itching to join the Hell Square scene. You’ll recall that the notorious landlord Michael Shah purchased the S. Beckenstein building for $28 million, and now hopes to install some tomfoolery called the Orchard Street Social.

Some neighbors aren’t buying the plan, though, which aims to create a 215-seat co-working environment with a drinking component (“work. eat. play”). Or, in the typical marketing speak, “a fusion of workspace, retail, entertainment, and dining for the consumer who wants the most experiential experience on the Lower East Side and New York.” This is seemingly Shah’s M.O. – purchasing properties and installing only nightlife tenants in the retail spaces.

So, the potential for bait-and-switch at 130 Orchard is seemingly through the roof. Indeed, the space would occupy 5,000 square-feet on street level, plus another 2,000 square-feet in the cellar; two stand-up bars planned.

And then there’s this. Shah carries a tarnished reputation for being a predatory landlord with an alleged tenant harassment streak. He’s appeared on the Mayor’s “worst landlords list,” but more on that in a minute. Shah’s purported partner on many nightlife ventures is Victor Jung, a convicted felon who served time behind bars for stealing $1.3 million from NBC Universal.

Even more interesting, however, is Shah’s link to Mayor de Blasio. Three years ago, Hizzoner accepted $4,950 in donations from the developer during his time as Public Advocate in 2011. According to Gothamist

The Daily News’s report states that de Blasio, who issued his Worst Landlords list to much fanfare in 2011, took $4,950 from Michael Shah, the owner of two buildings in Staten Island that have more than 200 code violations for vermin, bad locks, broken elevators, and broken windows. Shah then helped raise $11,850 for de Blasio as an “intermediary” (like a “bundler”) 16 days before he met with de Blasio to discuss lower his city taxes so he could rent to low income tenants. Shah had never donated to a political campaign before.

Don’t be surprised if this one goes through. Fair warning…

Orchard Street Social Menu Plans by BoweryBoogie

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