The owner of the well-regarded and well-heeled Ristorante DeGrezia is, like any good New Yorker with capital and drive, empire-building. Joseph DeGrezia, owner of the Northern Italian boite at 231 East 50th Street, has signed a lease for 2,200 square feet just across the way at the ground floor of 805 Third Avenue, where Ashton’s pub is now located (the technical address of the restaurant is 208 East 50th Street). According to his broker, Mr. DeGrezia intends to build a more casual and eclectic version of his existing restaurant—the name as yet undetermined.
The new location is a smashing one, with a 31-story tenant base at the ground floor of the Emery Roth & Sons–designed scraper owned by Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation.
“They will get the space in September and will redesign the whole place,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman of the retail leasing and sales division at Prudential Douglas Elliman, who represented Cohen Brothers Realty in negotiations with restaurateur Mr. DeGrezia, who was represented by Jack Valensi, of Valensi Realty.
The asking rent for the 13-year lease came to about $275,000 per year (or $125 a square foot), according to Mr. Valensi, who said the taking rent was, not surprisingly, lower than the asking. Mr. DeGrezia could not be reached for comment, but New York writes that Ristorante DeGrezia‘s ”skillfully prepared” northern Italian food, with its use of butter instead of olive oil, and the below-street-level boite’s “formal elegance … don’t come cheap, but judging by the number of serious business meetings and restrained celebrations that take place here, it’s a price many consider well worth paying.”
Pat Heraty, owner Ashton’s, said he was in negotiations for an even larger space, with a patio, at 825 Third Avenue. He said Ashton’s has been at its current, and until now only, location since June 5, 1994.