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The Limelight Marketplace isn't cursed, according to a story in this morning's Wall Street Journal—it's just rebranding. Owner Jack Menashe tells the paper that he's turning the mall into a department store "not unlike Barneys," with centralized management rather than stand-alone shops.
Menashe opened the mall about a year ago in a deconsecrated Chelsea church that used to be a notorious nightclub, stocking it with individual vendors like LeSportsac, Alexander West, Hunter Boots, and kitchen store Whisk, all of which have moved out within the past few months. He says he's been asking retailers to leave, but at least a few of the shops have closed due to a lack of foot traffic. Alex Yoo of Alexander West says his sales dropped from $13,500 during the opening month of May 2010 to $9.155 that July. And Sven Kaufmann, a retail consultant Menashe hired to help him with the overhaul, tells the WSJ that he thinks the original concept didn't work: "From a retail branding viewpoint, it was really bad."
The relaunch should be completed next September, possibly in time for Fashion Week. Called simply Limelight, the new store will carry brands like Bed Stu, PRPS, Nudie Jeans and James Perse. It will also offer food from some of the marketplace's current eateries, including Grimaldi's and Todd English's brand new Cross Bar restaurant.
· Limelight Not Doing So Well as a Marketplace, Either [Racked NY]
· Doing a Makeover in the 'Limelight' [WSJ]
· All Cross Bar coverage [Eater NY]