By  on April 11, 2007

NEW YORK — The Plaza Retail Collection has hired Anthony Nicola, a veteran of the luxury industry, as its general manager. With 160,000 square feet of fashion, jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, antiques and gourmet victuals, the Collection is the centerpiece of Elad Properties' $350 million mixed-use renovation of the Plaza Hotel. Other components include luxury residences, hotel rooms and hotel condominiums.

Nicola, formerly vice president of operations at Bergdorf Goodman, said, "Bergdorf Goodman was a fabulous place to be. This is such a fabulous opportunity to be able to be part of developing the Plaza into the great space it's going to become."

Nicola, who is overseeing the transformation of the space, will work with retailers once they're in place and coordinate with the hotel and residences. "We'll have messenger service throughout New York City," he said. "There will be special advantages for the residents and guests. They'll be able to shop all the vendors and we'll provide them with an individual who can edit their selections."

Elad is taking its time in announcing the retail lineup, sparking speculation the leasing process has been more difficult than expected. Caudalie, the privately owned French skin care firm, has said it's planning to open an 8,000-square-foot day spa at the Plaza.

"A number of leases have been signed already, but we're not prepared to discuss them," said Nicola, adding the company will disclose the names of retailers in June or July. "The retail mix will skew more toward women than men with a variety of expensive jewelry, accessories, ready-to-wear and men's sportswear. We're also working on a food hall."

Elad, which is projecting sales of $1,500 per square foot as a starting point, plans to have the Collection open by October.

"My career has all been retail," said Nicola, who was a vice president at R.H. Macy & Co. prior to joining Bergdorf's. "When I came to Bergdorf Goodman, I was able to grasp the luxury end of the business and what it takes to satisfy the luxury client. I also have an understanding of what the vendors need."

Nicola, whose first day at Elad was Tuesday, seemed slightly overwhelmed by the construction zone that is the Plaza. "I just had a tour," he said. "There's a lot and I haven't even scratched the surface."

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