The first installment of a long-awaited plan to redesign Faneuil Hall Marketplace has finally surfaced a year and a half later than expected, a delay the landlord says was due to an elaborate but unfruitful attempt to bring an Eataly to Quincy Market.
Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, a New York real estate firm that bought the lease to the marketplace in 2011, will present a preliminary redevelopment plan for Quincy Market to the Boston Landmarks Commission next week. Initial changes focus on improving access to the market’s second floor with two new escalators and an elevator.
The real estate firm said it had initially centered plans for the marketplace around a massive overhaul of Quincy Market to accommodate Eataly, celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Italian food emporium. But after lengthy efforts, the firm realized changes on the drawing board for the market were too extensive and the plan was scrapped.
“It was a very dramatic plan,” said Barry Lustig, senior vice president of development and leasing at Ashkenazy. “It required a lot of changes to be able to adapt Quincy Market to Eataly. After 10 months of work with the tenant and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, we came to the consensus that it was not going to be realistic to happen.”
The original, wildly popular Eataly is located in New York. A second giant Eataly emporium, featuring many food vendors and restaurants, opened in Chicago this fall.
Lustig said the main reason the plan for an Eataly in Quincy Market collapsed was a lack of space.
An Eataly requires at least 30,000 square feet, nearly equal to all of the market’s space spread across two floors. But Ashkenazy wasn’t willing to dump its first-floor merchants, an eclectic mix of restaurants, pushcarts, and local vendors, Lustig said.
The firm is open to looking at other areas of Faneuil Hall Marketplace for an Eataly, Lustig said.
The revised initial plans for Quincy Market, without the emporium, will be presented to landmarks commission Tuesday. Lustig said the blueprint for a full redesign of the entire marketplace will be ready for the city to review in the first quarter of next year.
Lustig highlighted the improved access to the market’s second floor in the preliminary plan.
“We want the opportunity to have full activation of Quincy Market,” he said. “Right now you have second-floor space that is really hard to utilize. It’s not really accessible because you only have a spiral staircase in the middle of the rotunda.”
Even without Eataly as an anchor tenant, the new plan calls for the removal of temporary tenant installations. Lustig said some pushcarts will be moved to make room for elevators in the glass shed area on the first floor of the building.
Carol Troxell, president of the Faneuil Hall Merchants Association, said she feels confident that Ashkenazy would not remove the local vendors.
“Those pushcarts are a major revenue generator,” she said. “They might move us or relocate us, but I think they would put us in a space that worked out well.”
An 80-page document detailing the changes provided a few clues to plans for the exterior of the marketplace, including altered walking paths and more room for an outdoor community space with movable chairs and tables, similar to Bryant Park in New York City. Lustig said Quincy Market will also receive a new air conditioning system and updated mechanics.
Ashkenazy is working with Elkus Manfredi Architects of Boston, Sasaki Associates Inc. of Watertown, and Biederman Redevelopment Ventures Corp. of New York on the redesign of the marketplace. The firm bought the lease to Faneuil Hall for $136 million in 2011 and initially said it intended to release a blueprint on a proposed overhaul of the space by spring 2012.