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Ivy’s Caring Beats Wolseley to Restaurant Site

Caprice Holdings Ltd., the restaurant business of entrepreneur Richard Caring, plans to open an eatery in the former Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, a site that the owners of the Wolseley had planned to take.

Jeremy King and business partner Chris Corbin had spent more than two years developing proposals for a brasserie in the Russell Street building, which is called the Flower Cellars, before developers Covent Garden London opted for a partnership with Caprice, which was formerly owned by King and Corbin.

“The facts of the matter are that we are no longer doing it,” King said today in an e-mailed message. “The landlords have given a contract to another restaurant owner, and I can’t speak about it (neither legally -- nor emotionally).” He declined to elaborate when contacted by telephone.

Caprice Holdings establishments include the Ivy, J. Sheekey and Le Caprice. Covent Garden London is owned by Capital and Counties, which is splitting from Liberty International Plc next month to become a separate London-based property company.

“We can confirm that we intend to work with Caprice Holdings on the proposed restaurant element of the Flower Cellars development, which is currently subject to a planning application,” Bev Churchill, brand developer of Covent Garden London, said in an e-mailed statement.

Lisa Copperthwaite, an aide to Caring, said he was out of the office and unavailable for comment.

“The Covent Garden London team approached us about the opportunity two years ago but it didn’t fit with our commercial plans at the time,” Caprice said in an e-mailed statement. “Having spent the last six months looking for a suitable site for a new U.K. concept, we were recently able, through a mutual contact, to submit a successful offer for the space.”

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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