Could Balthazar Be Moving Downtown?

I post this at the risk of being labeled the boy who cried “McNally!”…. In June, you may recall, restaurateur Keith McNally was said to be looking at the Capsouto Frères space, although it turned out to be two of his former colleagues (and they didn’t take it). But here’s a rumor that makes an intriguing amount of sense: Is McNally moving Balthazar to the Ace Hotel opening in 5 Beekman, a.k.a. Temple Court?

The email I received from a reader:

I was patronizing a small business near Nassau and Beekman last week. I was talking with the owner when another local owner came in to get info on the “this story about Balthazar.” Basic info was shared that essentially included: the space in Soho is going away and they relocating to the new hotel (in the Beekman bldg?). They confirmed that their stories were similar. Take it for what it’s worth. I’d bet a dollar on it happening. But no more than that.

I think I might raise that bet to at least $10. Look at the reasons it could be true:
••• In April, Gael Greene—who is undoubtedly plugged in—tweeted that Balthazar would close when its lease was up. McNally denied it—but nothing was said about whether it might move.
••• A hotel location definitely suits a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
••• The building is spectacular, and Ace—which partnered with Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield at its other location—clearly likes a big-name restaurateur (and has to know the Beekman location needs one).
••• The rent would be a hell of a lot less than on Spring Street.
••• It’s within Blahnik distance of 1 World Trade, and Condé Nast employees are going to have to eat—or pretend to eat?—somewhere. Currently, there’s nowhere glamorous below Chambers.

As for the cons:
••• FiDi isn’t Soho.
••• There will be a Denny’s two blocks away.

Last time I heard a McNally rumor, I called to see if anyone would comment, and I was told I’d have to write a letter and mail it. So let’s consider this that letter, which will probably get posted via Eater.

Another serious possibility, of course, is that Ace has tapped the former colleagues mentioned above—Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, who opened Balthazar in 1997—to launch a restaurant in the hotel.



  1. That area isn’t even ‘FiDi’. Its actually ‘City Centre’ and a mixed bag of tourists, students, city hall employees, etc. Sure the hotel may spruce things up a bit , but there ‘s a Denny’s moving in very close by at 150 Nassau.

  2. @dan: I think it’s FiDi, if only because I’ve never heard anyone say, “I live in the City Centre” (or Civic Center, for that matter), and I live on the other side of City Hall Park. The crowd right now is a bit more Denny’s (which I mention in the post) than Balthazar, but a lot of tech/ad companies are moving to the general FiDi area.

  3. It’s absolutely FiDi. Once 5 Beekman opens it will change everything in this formerly forlorn section. There has already been a big improvement with the opening of 8 Spruce and the Peck Slip school. 5 Beekman, the new Pace Dorm, 113 Nassau and the new 40 story Condo rising right behind 5 Beekman will change it dramatically. The Denny’s, if it opens (there is still no interior work underway) is hidden on the corner of Spruce and Nassau. You literally have to look for it to find it. :-)

  4. A brief tangent: How is FiDi pronounced? Long ‘i”s?

  5. @KP: That’s how I say it, although I imagine it’s more of the kind of thing you write. But I’ll defer to Luis….

  6. Goddammit, it is not FiDi, at least not as long as I live across the street. But I’m in the process of selling and moving because that bullshit is fast encroaching on the very real neighborhood (that is, where neighbors know neighbors) and very NOT forlorn place I moved into 30+ years ago. Go back across the park, you people. And don’t send your children to take up school seats the kids on this side need.

  7. Sorry Suzanne, but FiDi it is and most everyone will agree that this was the last forlorn piece remaining in FiDi and it will be radically transformed for the better in the coming years. It’s not going to work for you and we wish you well. Alas, you can’t please everyone. For the rest of us, we love it!

  8. “Almost everyone” does not include the people who moved here when you (figuratively, or maybe for real) were still in your childhood bedroom in the suburbs, dreaming of being able to live in The City.

    Your “better” is my gentriputrefaction. The radical transformation is quite literally pulling everything good out by the roots. And replacing it with transients who don’t care about the neighbors or the neighborhood and don’t clean up their dogs’ poop from the sidewalk. Oh, wait, that happens a lot in Tribeca, too. Lucky you.

    I’ll bet you think the Gehry building, so out of scale with the neighborhood, is just faboo. And 113 Nassau (and its forthcoming neighbor) that turns the street into a canyon. Right–if something is out of scale, change the scale! I hope you’ll be happy with that sliver building going up on Park Row, on the “Tribeca” (another phony real estate industry name) side of the park.