City Winery secures new home as deadline looms

City Winery has (almost) secured a new location, but can’t reveal specifics just yet. Owner Michael Dorf can only say that it is a Citibike-ride away from the current location at Varick and Vandam (and still on the westside) and that it will be about the same size — 32,000 square feet.  It also won’t be ready till January 2020 at least, meaning there will be a few dark months without the concert space in the neighborhood.

Dorf and the entire block are being kicked out to make way for Disney, which has the new 99-year lease from Trinity Church, the landlord of the Hudson Square fief. “We will leave at the last possible minute, which is August 10th,” Dorf said. “Our last show is July 31st, which gives us 10 days to get out of dodge.”

In the meantime, Dorf is suing Trinity for damages. According to the court documents, in late 2016, Trinity approached Dorf to take on the second floor and rooftop; he then invested $2 million in his build-out of The Loft. Just months later, Trinity called in the demolition clause in the contract and gave them a year to move out. All this after Dorf claims the church’s reps promised that no demolition would take place for at least three years. Trinity has filed a motion to dismiss. “They are trying to have us spend a lot in legal fees. It is remarkable that they are not doing the right thing here,” Dorf said.

Still, the City Winery empire is growing: there are new locations coming to the Hudson Valley and Philly, which opens in September. The wine-making equipment currently on Varick will get moved to the country while the new space is built out.

Dorf isn’t the only legacy tenant on the site – in fact he’s kind of the newbie. Tribeca resident Rafael Vinoly moved his architecture firm to Vandam 29 years ago. And Great Performances, the caterer on the west side of the site at 304 Hudson, moved to the block in 1993 (the company was founded in 1980), back when things were a bit more gritty. The company has taken 41,000 square feet in Mott Haven, the Canal Street of this decade.

“When we got there 25 years ago it was a pioneering step,” said Shelley Clark, the company’s communications officer. “We watched the neighborhood grow. And we will do that again in Mott Haven.”

While everyone is talking about the Amazon that isn’t in Astoria, and the Google that now is at 550 Washington at Houston, the big mouse is somehow flying below the radar. Disney plans to build 1.1 million square feet of office space – neither the architect nor plans have been released — and will relocate most of its shows to the site, including WABC-TV, ABC News, The View, Live with Kelly and Ryan and Disney Streaming Services. Good Morning America will continue broadcasting from Times Square. That’s a lot of mouse, if you ask me.



  1. Congratulations to City Winery! Very glad to hear they have found a space, and that it’s (hopefully) still in the neighborhood.

  2. Trinity isn’t acting very Christ like are they?

  3. My understanding is a bit different. When City Winery was contemplating the build-out of the upstairs space for a second music venue on the site, it was City Winery who approached Trinity for assurance that their lease was not in jeapordy for the foreseeable future. They say that they received these assurances and in reliance, they built out what’s now called the Loft at City Winery at a cost of over $2 million. So they feel like the rug was pulled out from under their feet.
    Together with all the other fans of both CW and the Loft, I mourn the upcoming closure and uncertain re-opening date. It would be awesome if they can pull it off by January 2020 but I’m sure that will be challenging.