Despite the very public troubles that The Plaza Retail Collection – the underground shopping mall in the famed Plaza Hotel – is experiencing, Plaza owner Elad Properties has just announced that this is where Douglas Hannant will be opening his first freestanding store.
Hannant’s shop is slated to open in Fall 2009 and will be a relatively small 850 square-foot space on the upper level concourse. It is located in the space once occupied by Manrico cashmere. The store will feature “the world of Douglas Hannant,” which I’m assuming means the designer’s full collection.
In other news, Elad Properties revealed that Kristin Franzese was just named the executive vice president of retail of The Plaza Collection, and that she’ll supervise the marketing and overall operations of the 160,000-square-foot, multi-level retail space, including the 53,000-square-foot grand concourse below street level. The retail space has been repeatedly accused of not having been properly marketed.
Hannant’s neighboring businesses will include Seize Sur Vingt, Domenico Vacca, Ghurka, Kenneth Jay Lane, Arthur, Assouline, Demel Bakery, Warren Tricomi, Virtu and Qiviuk. Many are surprised that, considering its prestigious location, there aren’t any “big-name brands" located in the underground mall. As it turns out, many of the brands that The Plaza Retail Collection was hoping to attract – think Gucci, Prada, Burberry – already have a prominent presence on 5th Avenue. Bbesides their own freestanding stores, they are carried by the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, making for the core problem the underground mall is having. After all, why pay high rents and risk over-saturation when you already have a presence in the neighborhood?
Hopefully, Franzese will be able to successfully set the retail space apart and effectively market the brands that do have a presence in The Plaza.