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Rendering of 196 Orchard and Ben Shaoul
In 1999, Ben Shaoul founded Magnum Real Estate Group with a business model that focused on renovating rundown rental apartments. Within the past five years, the New York City-based development firm has grown extensively, and now reigns as one of the city’s leading ground-up development companies. The firm's portfolio has now extended past its original (yet consistent) focus on small multi-family buildings to include multiple retail properties and condos, as well as a dormitory. Some major recent projects include 389 East 89th Street on the Upper East Side, 100 Avenue A in the East Village, and 100 Barclay in Tribeca.
Shaoul’s latest development rises at 196 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Situated at the corner of East Houston Street, adjacent to the famed Katz's Delicatessen, the building will ultimately top out at 11 stories tall and host 94 condominiums. Magnum has tapped Ismael Leyva Architects as the design architect and Adam Rolston of Incorporated Architecture & Design for the interior design with the intent of creating a refreshing, neighborhood-friendly building with thoughtfully and classically designed interiors. Now one floor above street level, the team is anticipating a completion date next year. Current availabilities can be found here.

We recently caught up with Shaoul to discuss the project, its design, and the ever-evolving Lower East Side.
196-Orchard-Street-02 196 Orchard rising behind Katz's Deli; May 2017

Why did you choose condominiums for this site, rather than a hotel or rental development?

Ben: The area has virtually no quality, high-end condominiums - especially beautifully designed, contextual buildings with a massive Equinox Club in the building.
Contextual exterior, crowned by a 4,100-square-foot rooftop park.

What compelled you to select Adam Rolston of Incorporated as the interior designer and Ismael Leyva as the architects?

Ben: We have worked with Ismael Leyva Architects for many years and have always had great experiences with them. They always put out quality work and, with 196 Orchard, they seamlessly integrated the exterior design of the building to fit into the evolving Lower East Side’s architecture to ensure that it maintains that authentic neighborhood feel that is so important to New Yorkers. We chose Incorporated because they have proven their ability to execute our vision and bring 196 Orchard to life stylistically. They have a true understanding of the neighborhood and have the perfect aesthetic to execute interiors that match the building’s vibe and its surrounding areas.
 
 
 
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How did the architecture of the neighborhood inspire 196 Orchard’s interior and exterior design?

Ben: The building had to be contemporary with a contextual nod. Especially important to us was that the street exposure had life and texture and was not a bland, modern glass experience: the selection of a custom glazed bronze brick will provide a wonderful element to the streetscape with an evolutionary, not revolutionary, twist.
Terrace with stunning views

Magnum developed the nearby already-successful condominium 100 Avenue A. How will 196 Orchard be similar to or different from that development?

Ben: 196 Orchard is a beneficiary of three neighborhoods due to its proximity to the East Village to its north and SoHo to the west. 196 Orchard is a larger building, while still boutique-sized, with a 2-full-floor Equinox Club and spa.

What do you foresee in the evolution of the Lower East Side over the coming years?

Ben: The area already has the most vibrant mix of unique retail, art galleries, and restaurants, hotels, entertainment, etc. Over the next few years, superb options will come to the area in the way of residential condominiums and additional, exciting new retail elements including a Trader Joe’s. The newly opened Ludlow House/SoHo House is an indicator of the type of exciting things coming. The Lowline Park will also add a wonderful component. All additions will embrace and celebrate what is already authentic and outstanding about the neighborhood.
30,000-square foot Equinox with an exclusive, resident-only discount.
New Developments Editor Ondel Hylton Ondel is a lifelong New Yorker and comprehensive assessor of the city's dynamic urban landscape.
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