By Tara Kyle
CHELSEA — First it was a church, then a nightclub, and now a mini-mall — but not for long.
The Limelight at 20th and Sixth Ave. will soon house a single department store, the Wall Street Journal first reported.
The ever-changing site tried its hand at housing a collection of retail booths, beauty kiosks, and even an outpost of Grimaldi's famed pizza, which opened in the winter.
The Limelight Marketplace's current incarnation, barely a year old, was a step in the right direction, but not enough to keep it intact, the building owner said.
"We're going what's been working as opposed to staying with what hasn't been working," owner Jack Menashe said, saying he found relative success at the small number of fashion vendors currently in the Marketplace.
The new department store, called simply Limelight, will likely open in September and will cost Menashe about $4 million to launch. Menashe does not anticipate having to close the 30,000 square-foot space for any period during its transformation this summer.
Although merchandise and dessert vendors will move out of the Marketplace, the restaurants and bars — Grimaldi's, Cana Wine Bar, Jezalin's and Cross Bar — will stay.
Limelight's new iteration will include high-end menswear, which Menashe hopes to cull in part from a trip next month to Milan Fashion Week.
Lines featured in the womenswear sections will include Elizabeth and James, Society for Rational Dress and lots of premium denim. And a section tentatively titled "Limelight Fun" will emphasis swimswear and clothes for going out.
As part of the transformation, Menashe also plans to make-over the look and feel of Limelight, bringing in more black decor and spotlights and taking out much of the color peppering the property.
"We're bringing in a level of maturity," Menashe said. 'It's a beautiful, magnificent buidling, so we want to let it shine a bit."
The merchandise buyer for the new department store will be Melanie Drake, of Boogie's Retail in Aspen, Colo.