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Ben Shaoul battles it out with Union Square neighbor over 15-story condo building

The developer was slapped with a lawsuit for allegedly trying to impede work on this project

There’s a battle going down at 809 Broadway, right off Union Square, between real estate magnate Ben Shaoul and his neighbor—and fellow developer—Ariel Rom. The Commercial Observer breaks down the bad blood between the two, which goes back to the fall of 2015.

Ariel Rom, who heads up the investment group 809 Broadway Holdings LLC, wanted the Department of Buildings to approve his plans for a 15-story condo, which is rendered above and below. The building approvals also required permission from Shaoul, who owns the four-story 813 Broadway next door. (Plans for the new development called for erecting scaffolding above 813 Broadway.) According to the lawsuit filed by Rom, Shaoul asked the developer for $250,000 for the scaffolding honor—a number Rom considered an "excessive license fee." Regardless, a deal was settled in November of 2015 for an unspecified sum.

During construction, an accidental concrete spill at 809 Broadway—which damaged 813 Broadway—made things a lot worse. Residents and the commercial tenant at 813 Broadway were dislocated; a stop-work order was slapped on 809 Broadway. Then Shaoul allegedly stalled the construction efforts that commenced after the stop work order was lifted. Ultimately, he got Rom to pay him $20,000 per month for an amended construction license that allowed a crane to hover over 813 Broadway.

The lawsuit alleges that Shaoul continued to stall the project until he said he just wanted to buy 809 Broadway at a price the lawsuit deemed "well below" its $50 million value. As the Commercial Observer puts it, "Shaoul told his neighbor that he should sell 809 Broadway to him and that he "did not want to be the one to ‘take him out’ of business.""

Now Shaoul is getting sued because after all that, the whole development is in danger of falling apart. According to the Commercial Observer, "Rom’s attorneys are now seeking a return of the $20,000 in monthly license fees that the LLC has been paying as part of the license amendment since the concrete accident, and a reversion to the initial $250,000 deal."

Yikes. So the moral of the story is, don’t cross Ben Shaoul?