Wednesday, May 23, 2007

THE PLAZA & THE PLAUSIBLE By STEVE CUOZZO - Business News | Financial | Business and Money 

THE PLAZA & THE PLAUSIBLE By STEVE CUOZZO - Business News | Financial | Business and Money

Steve Cuozzo wonders what is going on with the landmark Plaza Hotel. He brings up some very good points.

But Elad's lust to spread the Plaza "brand" raises the question: What's going on at the real Plaza - the one in Manhattan that Elad bought in 2004 for $650 million, and which it plans to reopen as a mixed condo/hotel/retail address this fall?

Well, restaurateur brothers Frederick and Laurent Lesort (of Frederick's on Madison fame) have dropped out of a prospective deal for the Oak Room and Oak Bar after six months of talks - leaving the fabled venues without an operator just four months before they're supposed to reopen.

"We backed out because we couldn't get what we wanted," Laurent Lesort said yesterday. "We definitely wanted the space, but we couldn't agree on points that were very important to us."

"Elad was very difficult," he said.

Meanwhile, reps for Elad's U.S. president, Miki Naftali, could not confirm a single store or restaurant lease, despite a year of buzz.

When Elad bought the money-losing Plaza, it upped its retail space from around 35,000 square feet to more than 160,000 feet on several levels.

But with the Plaza's grand, 100th anniversary reopening set for Oct. 1, Elad's reps confirm only three done deals so far: for celebrity trainer Radu, day-spa Caudalie, and hairstylist Warren Tricomi. Combined, they account for a mere 16,000 square feet.


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