Suitsupply, based in Amsterdam, is eying the perpetually under-renovation Ciao Bella space at 240 Newbury St. for a possible clothing store and cafe, an attorney for building owner Joseph Cimino said today.
Attorney Stephen Miller explained the possible deal to the Boston Licensing Board in yet another bid to get Cimino more time to actually use the liquor license he holds for the space.
As impatient board members noted, they've been holding hearings since 2011 on why they should continue to let Cimino hold onto the license without using it.
License holders are not supposed to just sit on the valuable pieces of paper, but the board routinely grants extensions to license holders who can show extenuating circumstances - in Cimino's case, extensive renovation requirements by the Back Bay Architectural Commission and ISD: Both to bring the building into compliance with the historical nature of the neighborhood and to install an elevator.
Miller said bringing the space into compliance has turned what was originally budgeted as a $3-million project into an $8-million enterprise that is still far from finished.
Miller said Suitsupply, which already has 45 stores around the world, including several in larger US cities, was attracted to the space by both its location on one of the country's most expensive shopping streets and because Cimino's space would let it offer customers a cafe in which to unwind after the experience of buying suits and accessories.
Miller said he is unsure how long it would take to complete a lease agreement with Suitsupply, noting that it is, after all a European company. Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer, however, said the board is in no mood for a leisurely European-style round of negotiations. "This is urgent now," she told Miller and Cimino. "This has been going on since 2011."
Lawyer and client said the renovation work continues and that, in the worst case, Cimino would do what he'd originally planned to - open his own restaurant.
The board decides Thursday whether to give Cimino more time to hold onto his license.