SAGA Hospitality Group, whose major restaurants at 70 Pine Street helped drive the Wall Street area’s dining surge, are branching out uptown.
The group led by managing partner and head chef James Kent signed a lease for a 7,000 square-foot eatery at BXP’s 360 Park Avenue South at East 26th Street.
It’s a big step for SAGA and for BXP, previously known as Boston Properties. Kent, who runs ground-floor Crown Shy at 70 Pine and tower-top SAGA and Overstory, wanted to expand SAGA’s reach.
Meanwhile, BXP wanted a signature restaurant to lend a cool factor to the vacant, 450,000 square-foot, 1913-vintage office tower in Midtown South.
BXP is spending $100 million to redevelop the handsome property where it bought the leasehold interest for $300 million in December 2021. The joint-venture includes Canadian pension fund CPPIB and Singapore private wealth fund GIC.
The top-to-bottom modernization includes new elevators and lobbies and tenant amenities such as a roof deck, indoor lounges, bike room and meeting spaces.
SAGA has “built a reputation for world-class dining experiences in the Financial District and we’re excited to expand their reach to the growing Midtown South neighborhood,” said Hilary Spann, BXP’s New York region executive vice president.
Kent said the new eatery “is in addition to all we’re doing down here.”
The as-yet-unnamed venue to open in early 2024, will be “seafood-driven and inspired by the Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar. We’d love to play around with their famous oyster pan roast,” Kent said.
The famed Grand Central eatery is quite dear to Kent’s heart, he explained, because it’s where his grandmother and jazz great Charles Mingus went on their first date before they were married.
“It’s been an important restaurant for our family,” he said.
Kent’s place will be on the ground floor at the building’s north corner.
“Our intention is a big, bustling restaurant with about 140 seats,” he said.
Saga pastry chef Renata Ameni will head up a daytime patisserie that will turn into the restaurant bar by night.
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