NEW YORK — The Limelight Marketplace could be one man’s brilliant idea — or misguided folly.
That man is Jack Menashe, president of Limelight Marketplace, who is overseeing the $10 million renovation designed by James Mansour. Menashe said he expects the 25,000-square-foot facility to do $50 million in sales volume in the first year. An opening is planned for March.
Built in the mid-1800s, the landmark Gothic Revival-style Episcopal Church on West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue became a nightclub in 1983. At the height of its popularity, the Limelight attracted celebrities, wannabees, club kids and young professionals. The club was repeatedly closed by police, then briefly reopened, before finally closing in 2007.
The Limelight’s next incarnation will be a marketplace with more than 70 shops, eateries and cafes, and two full-fledged restaurants.
Menashe, who owned Lounge in SoHo until it closed in January, is a retail showman. At Lounge, he sold Swarovski-encrusted hoodies and embellished jeans. There was a wall of rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and a restaurant that served food until 4 a.m.
While Lounge had a clubby atmosphere with dark walls and scuffed wood floors, Limelight Marketplace will be bright and colorful with lots of bold signage.
“I tried to make the building feel much smaller and make it feel accessible,” Menashe said. “The building is like a big old haunted house. We envision families coming and spending three to four hours here.”
But with an edgy sneaker gallery and apothecary selling cult brands, the Limelight Marketplace is geared toward savvy shoppers. “Retail became very boring,” Menashe said. “We’re trying to make this fun.”
Standing on the second floor amid and the hum of construction work, Menashe said, “I was looking for an opportunity to do something like this. This is a very complicated building. People said I was crazy.”
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