NYPost writes that as Nobu co-founder Richie Notar prepares to launch an eagerly awaited new music club at the former Lenox Lounge site, a plan for the original fabled jazz venue to relocate two blocks north appears stalled.
Alvin Reed, who ran the beloved Harlem nightclub at 288 Lenox Ave. for 26 years, told Realty Check, “We’re kind of close to running out of funds. We’re looking for more investors.”
Lenox Lounge opened in the 1940s and hosted music greats including Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra and John Coltrane. Customers still came for its famous zebra-skin walls and Art Deco bar, mirrors and banquettes long after they were gone, but business slowed and Reed lost his lease in 2012.
His transplanted venue is supposed to open at 333 Lenox Ave., two blocks north of the original one between 124th and 125th streets. A story in February claimed Reed and partner Dean Schomburg would start construction in April for the place to open this summer.
But no plans have been filed with the Dept. of Buildings yet — which Reed said was partly due to the building not having a certificate of occupancy. The ground-floor space, once a hair salon, is currently vacant.
Yet even as Reed appears to be struggling, Massey Knakal director of retail leasing and development David Chkheidze — who represented the landlord of 333 Lenox in negotiations for Reed’s lease — revealed that Reed and Schomburg are interested in having a larger Lenox Lounge than the location’s 1,400 square feet.
He said Reed and Schomburg expressed interest in also leasing the vacant next-door former pizza joint at 329 Lenox Ave., which could be combined to create a 3,000 square-foot venue.
“We want to support them in this,” Chkheidze said, although he’s not involved in talks for the 329 Lenox space owned by a different landlord. “We just forwarded the contacts,” he said.
Reed confirmed the interest but, “Until I get some investors, I can’t make that commitment.” Nor could he say when construction on the 333 Lenox space would start — “the next month will be crucial,” he said.
Chkheidze said Reed was current on his rent.
Calls to Schomburg and to Reed’s architect, Victor Body-Lawson, were not returned.
Meanwhile, a rep for Notar Hospitality — which owns Harlow in Midtown and is launching a Sag Harbor Harlow this summer — said the new Lenox Avenue spot featuring nightly live music including jazz aimed to open by the fall.
The 2,500 square-foot room will have 80 seats and a “contemporary, edge” menu. Notar has yet to choose a name. Reed owns the Lenox Lounge name.
Partnering with Notar is “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Dwight Henry, a chef turned actor who will launch Mr. Henry’s Bakery, a spinoff of his Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Cafe in New Orleans, next door.