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Eataly signs deal to open at the Prudential Center

The salumi and formaggi counter in the New York Eataly.
The salumi and formaggi counter in the New York Eataly.(Virginia Rollison)

It's official: Eataly executives have signed a long-term lease with Boston Properties to build a $20 million Italian food emporium at the Prudential Center.

Eataly is a retail and restaurant hybrid of fresh produce and grocery stands, food counters, and restaurants designed to recreate the high-energy feeling of an Italian piazza. The concept was introduced in Turin, Italy, in 2007 by businessman Oscar Farinetti, who partnered with famed chef Mario Batali and others to bring the megastore stateside to Manhattan in 2010.

The market will be the fourth in the country when it opens in September 2016, according to Nicola Farinetti, Oscar Farinetti's son who helps run the business. Its 15-year Pru lease, which includes a five-year extension, was signed last month. Construction is set to begin later this month.

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The younger Farinetti hopes Eataly will attract about 5 million visitors a year.

"Boston is one of the most important and historical cities in the United States," Farinetti said. "I see very few places like the Pru in cities all over the world where you can appeal to the tourists and the locals at the same time."

Farinetti said the 44,000-square-foot food market will take over the existing food court at The Shops at Prudential Center. A rooftop restaurant will be built above the market and a new entrance will be constructed along Boylston Street.

Details about the layout of the market and partnerships with local vendors are still being finalized, he said. The market is expected to feature 15,000 products.


Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TarynLuna.