THE PLAN

1250 Broadway
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As in most Korean barbecues, the tables situated throughout Gaonnuri’s dining room are equipped with gas grills, making pressurization and ventilation two key issues during lease negotiations. In the end, however, establishing the restaurant on the building’s top floor was a plus. “From a venting perspective, obviously, being on top of the building is easier,” said Mr. Phillips, who said vents were installed on the 39th floor. “The higher up, the less it has to go.” Despite worries concerning a wave of walk-ins to what is predominately an office building, guests of Gaonnuri use the same bank of five elevators as tenants at 1250 Broadway. In a nod to exclusivity, however, a maître d’ checking reservations on the ground floor acts as an unofficial bouncer for the restaurant. “It adds a level of formality and hospitality at the ground,” said Mr. Phillips. “It’s a point of arrival, if you will.”

It was a transaction literally a decade in the making. Earlier this year, a deal between Jamestown Properties and Andy Sung, proprietor of the Korean barbecue restaurant Gaonnuri, came to fruition on the top floor of 1250 Broadway. Once an otherwise abandoned mechanical room under the ownership of SL Green, the 39th floor space in a building near the edge of Manhattan’s Koreatown was widely coveted by not only Mr. Sung, but also other restaurateurs who saw the space as ideal for an eatery with a view. When Jamestown Properties acquired the building in a venture with Murray Hill Properties, Mr. Sung reiterated his case for leasing the room, although as chief operating officer Michael Phillips insists, he didn’t have to work hard to convince anyone. “We believe that creating the best sense of place and community is what drives tenant retention,” said Mr. Phillips. “There isn’t one size that fits all, and I think being able to make the most of the assets that you have is what makes for good real estate.” Mr. Phillips reviewed the floor plans for 1250 Broadway’s 39th floor with The Commercial Observer and explained what, exactly, drew Gaonnuri to the building.

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Until the space was renovated, all that stood in the former mechanical room were what Mr. Phillips described as air handlers and cooling towers. However, somewhat surprisingly, the bathrooms now used at the restaurant existed back then, too. “There were actually restrooms as it was originally laid out,” said Mr. Phillips. “So we kept what was there, but modernized” To add another element of theatrics, Gaonnuri, which Mr.Phillips described as akin to Buddakan in its flair, boasts an open kitchen. “To come to Gaonnuri is definitely an event,” he said.

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Formerly a mechanical room, the 39th floor space boasts theatrical double-height ceilings and wraparound windows, both of which were enough to convince Mr. Sung to fight for the space. “I think theatrical, iconic spaces are something that we really relate to,” said Mr. Phillips.

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Near the center of the plan, 15 tables stand upon a three-foot platform, overlooking the rest of the dining room, a visible kitchen and the city itself. “The entire restaurant has two stages,” said Mr. Phillips. “An upper area where you can see into the exhibition kitchen and then a fan-shaped western focus onto the city.”

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42 | NOVEMBER 13, 2012  | THE COMMERCIAL OBSERVER