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[Photo Todd Eberle/Vanity Fair]
Since its reopening, the Plaza has been plagued with all sorts of problems: construction delays, a resident getting trapped in the garbage room overnight, lawsuits. There's also been some concern over the storied building's new retail collection. In their January issue (now available online), Vanity Fair delves into sad state of the Plaza with an article titled "Eloise Sheds a Tear." There are some scandalous details on the low-quality materials used in the renovations, and more information about the problems that the building's new owner, Israeli company El-Ad Properties, has had with leasing spaces in the Plaza's new 39,000-square-foot sub-level luxury mall.
As was noted last year, the big names that many associate with luxury retail—Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Hermès—already have shops nearby, and weren't interested in opening additional locations in the Plaza's basement. And, when the hotel opened in March, "only half the stores had opened, forcing such shops as the handbag designer MCM and the cell-phone maker Vertu to try to attract business not only in the middle of a market crash but also amid hammering and scaffolding." That doesn't sound like a very luxurious shopping experience.
The article also describes El-Ad Properties' underhanded strategy for attracting high-end brands:
In the face of this difficulty, El-Ad developed a signature strategy of implying big names had signed on in order to attract others. Naftali first got into trouble when he mentioned in the press that the plan was to do a Harrods department store, which was news to Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed. “It angers me,” Al Fayed wrote in a letter to Bloomberg, “that there are unscrupulous brokers and the developer who appear to be touting my name and the Harrods brand name in order to drum up interest in the project.” “I meant it as an example,” an exasperated Naftali says today.As it stands now, the Plaza Retail Collection isn't a complete waste—they do have Seize sur Vingt, and the new Warren-Tricomi salon has proven popular. You'll just have to excuse the mess outside.
Eloise Sheds a Tear [Vanity Fair]
· Now Open: Seize sur Vingt Bows in the Plaza [Racked]
· Now Open: The Plaza's Retail Space Throws a Party in the Basement [Racked]
· The Plaza Struggles To Sign Big Name Retailers [Racked]