NYC Sees New Leases for Sprawling Eateries as Vote of Confidence

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In a daring vote of confidence, 16” on Center or 16OC, a successful Chicago-based hospitality outfit, which focuses on making new food and beverage venues, has taken a new lease in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea, Manhattan. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By: Ellen Cans

New York City restaurants remain shuttered for indoor dining, with no clear indication as to when the full reopening will take place.  Despite this, there are new leases in NYC being signed by eateries with aspirations to open new locations in the Big Apple.  As reported by the NY Post, in a daring vote of confidence, 16” on Center or 16OC, a successful Chicago-based hospitality outfit, which focuses on making new food and beverage venues, has taken a new lease in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea, Manhattan.  The sprawling 13,000-square-foot lease will be for a new food hall at the iconic oversized building located at 601 West 26th Street, between Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues.

The building’s tenants, which include global leaders in fashion such as Ralph Lauren, Johnson & Johnson, McGarry Bowen and OXO, currently have no food court of their own but rather need to walk several long blocks to find dining options.  The landmark 19-story, 2.3 million-square-foot building will be 16” on Center’s first New York City venture.  The building is operated by RXR Realty, which purchased Starrett-Lehigh for $920 million in 2011, and invested an extra $50 million on renovations.  Chicago-eatery founders Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden have been named by the Zagat Survey as “Superheroes of the Chicago dining scene.”

The new dining hall will not be a restaurant per se, but rather a collection of sit-down and takeout counters “sourced and curated by 16” on Center”.  The company will be making license agreements with third-parties for short-term vendor leases.  The eateries are slated to open in the second quarter of 2021.  Representatives at RXR or 16” on Center would both not comment on the unusual timing of the lease, while eateries are all struggling to stay afloat.  An RXR representative, however said that the landlord “has faith in the New York City market and the vibrant environment to come.”  The deal was brokered by RXR’s Reed Zukerman, Brian Cheeseman and Whitney Arcaro, who represented the landlord in-house, along with Newmark Knight Frank’s Peter Fine and Janey Steinmetz.

This is not the first display of confidence made by eateries in NYC.  Just last week, the Post reported two other major eatery leases that were freshly inked.