By and  on October 4, 2007

NEW YORK — The Plaza may not be getting the power luxury retail brands it originally envisioned, but the project is amassing a mix of downtown labels, emerging European fashion talents and high-end gift and jewelry brands as tenants — as well as nearly selling out its inventory of multimillion-dollar condominiums.

Names such as Montblanc, Seize sur Vingt, Kenneth Jay Lane, Jay Strongwater, Assouline, Manrico, Vertu, Morgenthal Frederics and Caudalie have signed on so far to populate the Plaza's retail space.

The property, which celebrated its 100th anniversary Monday with a party that included an appearance by Paul Anka and a finale of fireworks that cascaded off the facade, has 160,000 square feet of retail space spread over six levels.

When Elad Properties, which bought the hotel for $675 million in 2004 and has poured $400 million into its renovation, unveiled the project in January 2006, it said it was targeting the likes of Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Lane Crawford, Holt Renfrew and the Italian Luxury Guild for the Retail Collection.

"When I got here, so many people were saying, 'We have to go after the big brands,'" said Anthony Nicola, general manager of the Plaza Retail Collection. "We're at the crossroads of luxury. We need to go after vendors who are willing to give us a special brand, maybe a downtown brand that's not uptown, or brands from Europe. Then this whole area becomes a destination."

The majority of retail space will be located on the Grand Concourse, which will be an open selling floor. Montblanc, which operates a large store on East 57th Street and the corner of Madison Avenue, will open an outpost where it will feature jewelry and pens. Kenneth Jay Lane is designing a special collection for the Plaza. Seize sur Vingt, the maker of custom suits, shirts and cashmere sweaters for men and women with a shop on Elizabeth Street here, will also occupy a spot on the concourse.

Assouline, Manrico, Vertu, Morgenthal Frederics and the Plaza Collection luxury gift shop will reside on the ground floor.

"We have 65 percent of the square footage leased, and we're working on another eight or nine leases," said Nicola. "We're making very good progress. I think we have it all in focus." Stores are expected to open in February.

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