The piece offers new insights into Shaoul, whose real-estate actions have been widely reported in this neighborhood. For instance, Shaoul says that he only needs five hours of sleep a night. After that, he says, "it’s depreciating returns."
The article focuses on his transition from evicting rent-stabilized tenants, emptying nursing homes and adding questionably legal penthouses to developing multi-million dollar properties and high-profile homes.
Over the past five years, he has scaled the ranks from a smalltime landlord to one of the city’s most important developers, partnering with major institutional capital providers and taking on ever more challenging and risky projects. His portfolio includes retail properties, condos, rentals and even dormitories. All told, he said his holdings are valued at more than $3 billion. In Manhattan, he currently has close to 500 new condo units on the market, which is likely more than any other developer right now.
The Real Deal also revisits the moment in March 2006 where he became known as "the sledgehammer," a well-documented story in which Shaoul and his construction workers knocked down apartment doors at the Cave, the building he had recently bought at 120 St. Mark's Place. Bob Arihood took photos of Shaoul and his crew, holding crow bars and sledgehammers, staring down Cave tenant Jim Power.
Although the ski-cap-topped Shaoul wasn't actually holding a sledgehammer — just a flip phone — Curbed dubbed him "sledgehammer" and it has stuck these past 10 years. (Curbed also once referred to Shaoul as an "80s breakdance movie villain." And maybe a little Johnny "Sweep the Leg" Lawrence?)
[Photo from March 2006 by Bob Arihood]
And what does Shaoul think of this sledgehammer moniker today?
Shaoul recently bristled at the depiction. “Do I wish people didn’t say that? Of course I do,” he said. “I have four children and a wife, and kids come to my house for playdates and stuff. The last thing I want is for one of those other parents to Google me and something that’s not even true comes up. You don’t want to handicap your children with that.”
Sources said the criticism Shaoul and his partners received in those years likely played a part in him transitioning into other types of projects.
As for more current Shaoul-East Village news... crews continue to work seven days a week (they do have permits for the weekend work) on the million-dollar condoplex at 100 Avenue A.