People strolling Greenwich Avenue recently noticed that windows in the renovated Beaux Arts limestone building at 265 Greenwich Avenue are covered in paper and signage has been removed from the building.
The building was previously home to Ralph Lauren, but it sat empty after that store closed in 2017.
In 2021 it became been home to SaksWorks offering two floors of flexible work and meeting space, and a ground floor restaurant, Ruby & Bella’s, named after the owner Richard Baker’s dogs.
The restaurant featured American cuisine with local products and seasonal ingredients. The interior had a homey feeling, with bookshelves, wooden library chairs and rotating displays of artwork.
The restaurant benefited from a wide sidewalk ideal for outdoor dining, but they also benefited from a “node” in the street.
Reached for comment about both SaksWorks and Ruby & Bella’s, Jessica Alper from Saks replied in an email, “We have made the difficult decision to cease operations at Ruby & Bella’s. The restaurant’s last day of service was September 10. We sincerely thank all of our customers for their support and patronage.”
Ms Alper didn’t reply about the status SaksWorks, the membership based co-working space, but the phone goes right to a busy signal and its Google listing says permanently closed.
The road was long for SaksWorks, which was rebranded “Convene” in 2022.
In February 2021, a pre-application went before P&Z as “Streetworks,” whose proposed as “a transportation center”. At the time attorney for the applicant Jackie Kaufman described Streetworks as the development arm of Hudson’s Bay Company, which owns the three Saks 5th Ave stores on the Avenue. A sticking point for the P&Z commission concerned the “unique second floor lounge” that would be an accessory use for the first floor café.
Except for a very few restaurants that are grandfathered, there had been a prohibition against public areas of restaurants being located on the second floor. That regulation was adopted in 1995. Prior to that, there was no restriction in the CGBR zone.*
In the end the proposal was approved with the restaurant and an update to 6-100 Use Groups for Business Zones, Use group 1/Restaurants.
On Monday, commercial realtor Diane Roth from Allied Property Group, described the building as an important anchor property for Greenwich Avenue.
“I have been reviewing my client list to refill this property. They have it on the market for rent and I wish them much success in finding an excellent tenant,” she said. This was the old Ralph Lauren location and they invested a lot of money, time and effort building out this property and it is quite stunning.”
Correction: P&Z updated their regulation for restaurants in Aug 2021 to allow restaurants on second floors of two story buildings in the CGBR zone and other conditions including that it be serviced by one kitchen.