Get those stretchy pants ready: Eataly has signed a lease to open in the base of 200 Lafayette St. in downtown Manhattan.
The eatery — which operates as a combination Italian grocery and a high-end dining destination, with eat-in options as well as gourmet grab-and-go foods — will occupy the ground and lower levels totaling 18,353 square feet, industry sources said.
Eataly was represented by Joel Stephen, of CBRE, in the transaction.
Building owner Brookfield Properties was represented in-house by Jason Maurer — and by a Cushman & Wakefield team led by Michael O’Neill, which included Alan Schmerzler, Jason Greenstone, Steven Soutendijk and Taylor Reynolds.
Industry sources said Brookfield’s asking rent was $2.7 million per year, but it provided a multimillion-dollar tenant improvement allowance towards Eataly’s extensive build-out — meaning it’s unlikely to open until mid-2023.
Eataly will also benefit from flagpole signage flying in this prime nook of Soho — and from a skylight and high ceilings.
Founded in 2003 by Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti and headquartered in Italy, Eataly took the city by storm when it opened in 200 Fifth Ave. by Madison Square Park in 2010 — adding a rooftop beer garden in 2011. Eataly now has another spot at 4 World Trade Center in the Financial District.
At the opening of the new 425 Park Ave. office building on Wednesday, David Levinson, a partner in L+L Holding — which is Eataly’s Fifth Avenue landlord — said he wasn’t surprised by the new deal, since Eataly had announced plans to expand last fall after getting new European investors.
Eataly sold a majority stake to Investindustrial in September for a roughly $200 million infusion to bolster its finances and bring its high quality sustainable “Made in Italy” products to more global locations.
At that time, Eataly had 44 shops in 15 countries, including Italy — with eight in the United States along with others in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Sweden and Brazil.
Chef Mario Batali helped to bring Eataly to the United States, but was ousted in 2018 under a cloud of sexual misconduct.
Its new space will be in the base of an 1896 industrial loft building that sits on one of the bustling neighborhood’s most prominent corners. It was purchased by the Zaccaro family in 2006 for $20 million. That family more than doubled its money when, in January 2012, Jared Kushner and CIM paid $50 million for the 130,000-square-foot building.
Kushner’s vision to redevelop the structure into a bright, open-plan contemporary loft-office was reinforced when JCPenney, spearheaded by Ron Johnson, net-leased the entire seven-story property in May 2012 under a 15-year deal. At the time, it carried a rent of about $8 million a year.
By the end of 2013, however, Johnson was out at JCPenney and General Growth Properties (GGP), then led by current WeWork chief executive Sandeep Mathrani, purchased the building from Kushner/CIM for $148.75 million. GGP allowed JCPenney to give up both the retail space and its top two floors, which were soon leased to upstate-based yogurt giant Chobani.
The home goods store, Pirch, opened in the retail space in 2016, but closed a year later in a corporate pullback.
Brookfield inherited the building when it took over GGP in a $9 billion deal in 2018. It has made other capital improvements. Currently, the upper floors are filled with office tenants, but the retail space has languished until now.
Eataly reps did not return requests for comment while Brookfield, CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield declined comment.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.