Unfinished eyesore on Ludlow Street heads to auction


Under construction in 2008, the Hotel Ludlow remains somnolent across the street from 179 Ludlow Street. Foreground: former bank that became an artist studio owned by Jasper Johns, later a club. (Curbed.com photo)

The small, nearly completed building, at 179 Ludlow St. near Katz’s deli and across from another failed development intended to be the Hotel Ludlow, is an eyesore.  Oddly, the building–which has four apartments and a retail store–in the heart of the gentrified Lower East Side has largely been ignored by the mainstream press.

From everything I’ve been able to glean, however, calling it an eyesore is akin to likening a garbage skow to a trash can. The thing has done nothing but drag down the block on which it sits, ragged and sore, like a homeless person, as is evident in a 44-second YouTube clip.

In 2008, the Village Voice chronicled the trials of the six-story rat-infested cinderblock building, which contains 8,372 square feet for residential use and 4,186 for retail. And last year, the Real Deal quoted James Famularo, former real estate broker for the building, as saying that a New Jersey property owner had gotten in over his head. According to the broker:

It was bad timing, and probably not the best choice of a project to take on as a first project in Manhattan. . . . As a result of this, he lost this building and several buildings in Jersey.

The owner, one Michelangelo Russo, won what would become his albatross at a bankruptcy auction in April of 2007 for $5.2 million, though “won” may not be the word he would choose today. He reportedly invested some $1 million, installing marble, heated terraces and European-style molding in an obvious plan to lure luxury tenants or owners.

That he ran into the iceberg of the nation’s recession after signing two 24 percent loans totaling $6.45 with a balloon payment couldn’t have helped.

Now the place is due to be auctioned again, this time after a foreclosure judgment handed down in March.  This next chapter is scheduled to be written on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. in State Supreme Court, 60 Centre St. (Room 130).

The amount owned by a company called 179 Ludlow Street (Russo’s limited liability corporation) to one called E. R. Holdings (which has a Bronx address) is $8.132 million.  (I assume the amount covers costs of the litigation and anything else for which the plaintiff is or has been paying as outlined in the mortgage documents.)

For more information, it is suggested to call 718-432-1700.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

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