Lexus’s New Intersect Is a Dining/Shopping/Event Space Where You Can’t Buy a Car

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Luxury auto brands can be very particular about how they want their dealerships to look, but as much as the design scheme is supposed to convey the brand’s self-image, the space is really all about selling cars. Lexus’s recently opened location on 14th Street in Manhattan is different. Called Intersect by Lexus, it’s not a place where you come to buy a new Lexus or even to learn about the company’s offerings. Instead, it’s a place where you’re supposed to absorb Lexus-ness by osmosis as you dine, drink, or shop in the swank environs.

This Intersect by Lexus is the brand’s third-the others are in Tokyo and Dubai-and the biggest. But Lexus is not the first auto brand to open such a venue in lower Manhattan; it follows Cadillac House, which isn’t far away, in SoHo. Cadillac, though, is moving its headquarters back to Michigan, and while Cadillac House remains open for now, there’s no telling whether it will continue once the brand pulls up stakes in SoHo this spring.

Regardless, the Lexus take is more ambitious. Discreet signage identifies it as Intersect by Lexus, and it’s located on a chic block in the Meatpacking District. The first floor features a café and coffee bar. At the rear is a gallery area big enough for an automobile. In keeping with the it’s-not-a-showroom theme, though, Lexus says current-model cars will not be displayed. From now until January 20, the LF-1 Limitless SUV concept is in that spot. At the front of the space is a display wall of Crafted for Lexus goods for sale. The items are claimed to be handmade and not available elsewhere. Among the wares on offer when we visited were a red leather ball, about the size of a soccer ball, for $410. A hand-blown glass vase was $425. We’re guessing retail won’t be the main draw.

Intersect Lexus cafe.JPG

Up a flight of stairs is a lounge with a large circular bar, and the main restaurant space, which serves dinner and (soon) lunch. The restaurant is run by New York’s Union Square hospitality group, and the chef in residence will change every four to six months. Entrées are priced from $27 to $46-expensive, but typical for the area. The third floor is described as a private gallery space that will be used for special events.

Although Lexus cars are not on display, Lexus car parts, all painted white, create a feature wall along the staircase. Another wall on the lower level is adorned from floor to ceiling with toy cars (of all makes) under glass. But mostly the automotive elements are subtle. The company describes the space as “a way to experience the ethos of the Lexus lifestyle.” It’s also a place to get a cappuccino-or maybe pick up a red leather soccer ball.

Intersect Lexus car parts.JPG

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