The Department of Transportation has begun quietly seeking proposals for the Plaza Food Court, a grouping of four food kiosks over on Police Plaza on Centre St. (not to be confused with the food court Todd English is planning for the Plaza Hotel). They're looking for one or a number of new vendors to sign five year leases on the spaces starting on March 15, subleasing from the operator that has been running the food court for the past decade. Apparently the city wants more diversity and better offerings.
Now, here's where it gets especially interesting. Sources close to the dealings report that Randy Garutti, Danny Meyer's right hand man and the new COO of Shake Shack, has been down to see the space. And in an email obtained by a tipster, he told associates that he's spoken to the DOT, is interested in the space, that it's a good prospect, but there are still a lot of details to be ironed out.
We haven't been able to find the DOT's call for proposals published out there on the internet, so for those interested, a copy is attached here with an excerpt reprinted below. Given there are four spaces, the chances of multiple vendors is looking pretty likely. And although Garutti may have toured the space, the deal could fall through if the terms aren't right. If it does go through, however, this would be Meyer's third deal with the city, on top of Shake Shack Madison Park and Public Fare in Central Park.
The current vendor is said to be sitting down with the DOT at the end of next month to go over proposals. Now to the DOT's letter:
We are very excited to have the opportunity to offer you the ability to become one of the newest vendors in the restructuring of NYC DOT’s Municipal Plaza Food Court.
The “Plaza Food Court”, as it’s been coined over ten years ago when it was built and began operations, currently sits on the 30,000 SF Municipal Plaza also known as St. Andrew’s Plaza and Police Plaza, downtown in Manhattan on Center Street. We are most famously seen in many episodes of Law and Order as well as many other movies. Currently we have four kiosks operating on the Plaza. These facilities are fully functional and have been operating under that same entity for ten years. We are offering the concession spaces for March 15th occupancy on a five-year term with a five year renewal option. The four spaces may be divided up anyway we feel would best support the local and tourist business in the area. Single Kiosks may be subdivided and multiple Kiosks may be taken by any one entity.
Each Kiosk can run as its own entity and food and liquor is permitted for sale. We are not permitted to sell any goods other than food and beverage at this time. The spaces on the Plaza may be open for business seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day as each Concessionaire deems appropriate. All kiosks have running hot and cold water, and gas and electric meters. Many of the Kiosks will have existing equipment that may be used by concessionaire if requested. The Kiosks on the North side have phone lines.
The Kiosks may be renovated but if a total reconstruction is requested, it will need to be approved by a City Agency. This change is not difficult but it may take up to six months. The Plaza may be used for other events including catering weddings and other social functions and even craft markets, farmers markets and holiday booth markets.
All events requiring additional permits (i.e tents, porto-potties etc) would have to submit a request and be approved.
Our goal is to make the Plaza Food Court a destination- hot spot. We want the Plaza Food Court to offer a variety of food items at a range of prices. Our intention is to continue to offer a great service to the existing customers and to draw in new customers with a creative menu operating out of lively, beautiful Kiosk Structures on Plaza that is housed in a historically rich and classic neighborhood. We also desire to make these improvements quickly and kick off the Spring 2010 season with our new vendors!
We will review all proposals that are submitted to us. We will contact all perspective Concessionaires by February 1st. This decision will not guarantee a space in the Plaza Food Court but it will afford the negotiating ability with our organization.
We will favor concessionaires who meet the following criteria:
-People and businesses with experience and success in the food/beverage industry.
-People and businesses willing to invest some capital to beautify and improve the Kiosk
structures. (Improvements include but are not limited to: Exterior Painting, refurbishing the floors, replacing some piping, restoring exterior lights and moldings, purchasing new patio furniture to blend with existing, installing a professional outdoor speaker/radio system , purchasing of any new cooking equipment needed for new menu items.
-People and businesses with an innovative menu.
And the official statement from Union Square Hospitality: "We are open to bringing Shake Shack to compelling sites in great neighborhoods. However, at this moment we are focusing our efforts on the operations of our existing Shacks - and the 2010 openings slated for Nolita, Theater District and the Upper East Side in NYC, as well as Miami Beach."