Better Living to helm East Village apartment conversion

January 03, 2014 04:47PM

Lower East Side development and investment firm Better Living Properties, led by Abraham Soudry, is converting a three-story retail building into a six-unit apartment complex in the East Village.

For more than 50 years, Jewish religious supplies shop Ben Ari Arts has occupied the space at 11 Avenue A, between East 1st and East 2nd streets. Midtown-based Robert Strong Architect has been hired to handle the conversion, according to Department of Buildings records filed today. The property will gain an extra floor and go to 5,020 square feet from 3,782 square feet.

Better Living acquired the site last month from the storeowners for $3.4 million, BuzzBuzzHome reported. Ben Ari, which originally opened at 201 Allen Street in the 1940s, sells menorahs, prayer shawls, mezuzahs and Seder plates.

Soudry pleaded guilty in 2010 to bribing an undercover investigator who was posing as a building inspector, the New York Daily News said. [BuzzBuzzHome]Mark Maurer