About a year ago the Limelight Marketplace opened in the church on Sixth Avenue and 20th Street that used to be a nightclub. The stores inside sold things like nice candles, mirrored ottomans, skin-care products by brands you've never heard of, and expensive chocolate. Shoppers could take a break from browsing novelty couch pillows to eat gelato and peruse the fine cheese and olive oil selection. However, this marketplace concept isn't working, and Limelight owner Jack Menashe says he now plans to get rid of the foodstuffs and vendors altogether and turn the space into one big department store, simply called "Limelight."
The Wall Street Journal reports that Menashe is spending $4 million on the transformation and has even hired a buyer to fill the space with things for people to buy:
"You could call it basically a department store," says Mr. Menashe of the new concept. "It's not unlike Barneys."
Indoor shopping malls have traditionally had a mixed track record in Manhattan where shoppers are used to stores with direct street access and often are loath to frequent retailers on second and third stories.
The issue was never that Limelight tried to be the anti-mall mall — people don't buy things there because it's not stuff people want to buy. The mall at the Time Warner Center, for example, has a Club Monaco, Williams-Sonoma, and a Coach — stuff people buy! The Limelight Marketplace, which feels like an upscale version of the home section at Urban Outfitters but with more obscure things, can only do so much business.