NYC Midtown eateries are revived, innovating when office workers return

The city’s offices are now 31.8 percent physically occupied by real people, according to the widely followed Kastle Systems Back to Work Barometer. It’s still peanuts, but an improvement over the 14 percent to 17 percent numbers that Kastle reported as late as last spring.

And with companies planning to bring more employees back in December and January, Midtown’s restaurant industry is ready to meet demand. Among other things, the legendary Sardis has plans to reopen after a renovation later in the fall, while Patroon, which only served dinner, will resume lunch service on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, two major culinary venues, which Realty Check previewed before and during the pandemic, are finally on the verge of opening.

Brazil’s luxury brand Fasano Hotel and Restaurant Group will launch an Italian eatery in January at 280 Park Ave. in the former Four Seasons restaurant area.

We first reported on the lease in November 2019. A planned opening in March 2020 was postponed. Then, in a September 2020 debt analysis of the tower owned by SL Green and the Vornado Realty Trust, FitchRatings reported that the opening would come in April 2021. Fitch also revealed that the deal was based solely on a percentage rent.

Sardis awning
Sardi’s, once a watering hole for Broadway actors and critics, will reopen later this year.
Helayne Seidman

Now the 22,000-square-foot venue is ready for a launch in January, a source revealed.
Construction is underway, but the details are sparse. The $ 30 million Four Seasons design by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld – who has worked on many Fasano hotels in South America – will largely remain intact.

A few blocks north and a block to the east, the owners of Michelin-starred Caviar Russe have set a November 18 opening for a cozy caviar bar with 43 seats, raw bar, lounge and a retail store on the ground floor at 538 Madison Ave near East 55th Street, under their sumptuous restaurant upstairs.

Caviar Russes shiny exterior
Borrowers at Caviar Russe will be able to enjoy delicacies from the sea internally – or make them go.

CEO Ilya Panchernikov hoped to open the jewel box last November, but it was delayed by construction problems.

The townhouse, which once housed a ski shop, has been renamed the Caviar Russe building. The retail expansion means that customers can buy the brand’s caviar, smoked salmon, duck foie gras and truffles without having to go upstairs to order.


A foreclosure to sell the debt on Ziel Feldman’s halted Eleventh Avenue apartment project known as XI over High Line Park, which was scheduled for Oct. 28, has been postponed to Dec. 22 and 23, we have learned. Lenders and creditors of the Twisty Towers (aka The Twists) will have to wait longer to find clarity, as the debt must be resolved before payments can be made or construction can resume.

The Children’s Investment Fund, a UK hedge fund, planned the sale after Feldman’s HFZ Capital Group defaulted on its loan. A judge in New York gave the fund the green light to sell the $ 136 million debt. The auction is not a lawsuit, but a public tender.

Ziel Feldman stands next to a dog sculpture in his office
Ziel Feldman, seen here at his Madison Avenue offices, defaulted on a loan for a condominium building on Eleventh Avenue, which will be sold at auction.
Michael Sofronski

Feldman is also under siege by contractors, including construction manager Omnibuild, who has filed a lien on hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills.


NYU has committed to Tishman Speyers 11 W. 42nd St. Sources revealed that the university, a longtime tenant, has just been renovated on 115,785 square feet to its Midtown campus on the fourth, fifth and tenth floors of the tower. The term is five years and six months.

The deal starts at $ 55.50 per square foot and rises to $ 61.28, an insider revealed. It includes six months of free rent and a tenant improvement allowance worth $ 30 per square foot – giving a net effective rent of $ 46.18.

NYU, which has recently made news to require COVID vaccinations, will also have its own private entrance to the 32-story tower.

The actual rents match the “questions” on 11 W. 42nd Street, which range from the $ 60s on the lower floors to the $ 80s upstairs.

Newmark Knight Frank represented NYU.

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