Upper East Side fixture Grace’s Marketplace will be relocating to Rudin Management Company‘s 215 East 68th Street after nearly 30 years at 1237 Third Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The market signed a 15-year, 13,125-square foot lease at the residential tower, which will nearly double the size of its current location. The new store is expected to open in the summer of 2014 when it will occupy 7,742 square feet on the ground floor and 5,383 square feet on the lower level.
Michael Rudin represented ownership in-house along with Michael Gleicher of Winick Realty Group. David Kevelson of the Manhattes Group LLC represented the tenant. Asking rents were $200 per square foot.
Mr. Rudin said that Grace’s Marketplace being a family-run business appealed to the management company. “We’re obviously a family-run business, so that was important to us,” he said. “We like to know who our tenants are.” Recently, chain grocery stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and the New York-bred Fairway have made major inroads in Manhattan. The Real Estate Board of New York named the RKF-brokered Fairway lease at 240 East 86th Street the “deal that most benefit[ed] Manhattan” in 2010.
In addition to being independently run, Grace’s Marketplace was a better fit for this relatively small retail space. It will be much roomier than the tenant’s current 7,000-square-foot digs, since that houses food retail as well as back of the house operations. At 215 East 68th Street, cooking prep and storage will exist in the basement.
Rudin has been at work on a $90 million renovation of the Upper East Side property, adding a gym and children’s playroom. Mr. Rudin said work on the facade is “98 percent complete.” Landscaping and an entrance driveway are also being improved.
He said that Grace’s Marketplace was drawn to the space for its “much higher ceilings” and increased room that will allow the food purveyor to “program its offerings much better.” The property includes three additional retail spaces, all of them currently occupied.
[Update]Pina Soares, the controller at Grace’s Marketplace and the daughter of its namesake, Grace Doria, said the new stored would “repeat everything going on at the store right now, but with added features.” Those include an “open-style kitchen where customers can sit and order from breakfast, lunch and light dinner options that a chef will cook in front of them. We’ll also offer cooking classes with featured chefs who’ll shop with the customers.” Other additions include a chopped salad station, a European-style espresso bar and a new aesthetic of warm woods and colors that recall a fresh farmstand.
Ms. Soares, whose family got its start in the Manhattan grocery world with the original Balducci’s in 1948, said that for two years the business had scoured locations throughout the city before finding one available right nearby. “Imagine our whole family with the whole Rudin family,” she said. “We hit it off right away, and didn’t really have to sell them. My mom told Bill [Rudin], ‘This is who we are, this is what we do.’
“It felt like it was meant to be.”