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Relentless Converter Ben Shaoul Nabs Gramercy, UES Rentals

What does a developer do when he's busy turning part of an old Verizon building into 161 condos, building dorms, flipping Chelsea townhouses, and coping with a lawsuit levied by... his parents? Put some future condo conversion plans in the pipe, of course. East Village mega-landlord Ben "The Sledgehammer" Shaoul is branching out even further with the acquisition of two rental buildings, the Post Luminaria and the Post Toscana, in Gramercy and on the Upper East Side, respectively—for a total of $270 million. The Post first reported the sale to Shaoul's Magnum Real Estate, which amounts to $800,000 per unit since the two buildings together house 337 apartments.

Rentals in the Gramercy building range from $3,000-$6,000/month, while those on the Upper East Side start in the mid-$2,000s and reach as high as $10K. These tenants can eventually get booted as tax abatement rules expire in order to make way for the condos, but Shaoul said, "Ideally, we would love to have all the renters convert to owners... you could own a unit here and pay the same out-of-pocket costs as your current rent. We want to do this at a price point so that people can stay in their apartments." Right. To add value, Shaoul plans to replace appliances and add de rigueur-for-condos communal spaces like a children's playroom.

Post Properties is the seller, and these were the company's only two buildings in the city. Yes, get out while you can.
· Condo developer Ben Shaoul snaps up 2 rental towers [NYP]
· All Ben Shaoul coverage [Curbed]