The short-lived Four Seasons 2.0 met its demise not because of blowback from former partner Julian Niccolini’s sexual assault guilty plea, but in part because its dining rooms were poorly designed, investors say.
Those investors — which included real estate powerhouses, as well as Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’s widow — say the restaurant’s biggest issue was an empty dining room, which was labeled a “ghost town” on a weekday afternoon, when only four tables were filled, the Post reports.
But the investors also blamed the two private dining rooms on the second floor of the restaurant, which were supposed to attract high-profile events like weddings to bring in more money. The rooms, though, were designed with large columns that blocked views and furniture that no one liked, an anonymous source tells the Post. Plus, even before it opened, the restaurant ran into construction delays and went over its budget, sources tell the Post.
The $40 million revival at 280 Park Ave. closed less than a year after opening. The news came after a troubled 10 months, when critics and the public called the restaurant out for still involving Niccolini, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault in 2016. Once Four Seasons Restaurant reopened after the start of the #MeToo movement, many had a new attitude to his past behavior.
In December, Niccolini was finally forced to resign. Last week, managing partner Alex von Bidder told the Times that it’s “hard to measure” whether Niccolini’s scandals had a negative effect on business.
Ultimately, it was the investors’ decision to shut doors, a list that reportedly includes:
- Real estate powerhouse Bill Rudin and his sister Beth DeWoody — who invested because the restaurant was “so important to the city.”
- Bill Rudin’s cousin Eric Rudin
- Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’s widow
- Bill White, former head of the Intrepid Air & Space Museum, and his husband Bryan Eure
- Edgar M., Matthew, and Sam Bronfman of Seagram, the alcohol company
- Financiers Stephen Schwarzman, Paul Taubman, Steve Rattner and Joe Plumeri
- CBRE real estate mogul Stephen B. Siegel and his wife Wendy
- Hank Greenberg, former chairman and CEO of American International Group, had committed $1 million, though funds hadn’t yet been delivered as of July 2017
But these investors only plunked down $18 million, a portion of the money. In total, more than 40 people pooled funds for the revival.