Now that 179 Ludlow Street has been rescued off the scrap heap, the nearby towering concrete shell that is 180 Ludlow Street has been bumped up to #2 on the list of the Lower East Side's most severely stalled eyesores, just below the Orchard Street Hell Building. Local developer Serge Hoyda has gone back and forth between boutique hotel and rental apartment plans, but the economy hasn't been kind to either, nor have the neighbors. The latest hiccup came when Hoyda went before Community Board 3 to ask for a zoning variance to get the hotel back up and running. But the board said no, because Hoyda wouldn't sign an agreement to hire at least 20% of the hotel's employees from the neighborhood. Don't get him wrong, he wants to sign it, but he can't, because?dramatic pause?he doesn't own the building. Plot twist!
That's right, the unintentional comedy on this blight has been raised to a new level, with Hoyda telling CB3 he's now just handling construction at 180 Ludlow, and The Villager adding, "Who exactly owns the property remains a matter of speculation." That speculation centers on boutique hotel kingpins Richard Born and Ira Drukier, who were rumored to have bought the building last year. The board's vote to deny the variance is just advisory, and now Hoyda must make his case to the Board of Standards & Appeals on behalf of his mystery bosses. In the meantime, The Villager notes that the stalled skeleton has been used by the NYPD to practice rescue drills, but maybe they should focus their efforts on saving the building instead of the crash test dummies?
· To get board O.K., Ludlow project must hire locally [The Villager]
· 180 Ludlow Street coverage [Curbed]
[Building photo via The Lo-Down; inset photo via The Villager.]