He's Nick Jones, founder of the members-only Soho House, and the big news is that he's taking over the quasi-legendary Mortons in West Hollywood (hey, the place only opened in 1979). Jones has signed a 20-year lease on the property, starting next year, and will spend $5 million to turn it into one of those private clubs he's been opening all over the world. Jones wants to continue the post-Oscar parties that have been a calling card at Mortons; he's been putting on his own Oscar shindigs for several years. His takeover of Mortons is part of a $60 million worldwide expansion plan that starts in L.A. and Miami (a NY outpost has been around a few years). Branches are planned for Istanbul, Madrid and Berlin (supposedly the headquarters of the Hitler Youth). Jones says he's bankrolling the expansion with his own money, bank loans, and cash generated by the business. From a London Telegraph profile:
The trick to Jones's success has been to create the market for modern, comfortable, exclusive "cool". By striking the right balance between luxury and simplicity, glamour and informality, openness and exclusivity, he has come up with the perfect brand for the new suit-but-no-tie generation of professionals, who hitherto regarded private clubs with their poncey rules and traditions as loathsome and arcane. However, like many of his members who have been successful in Britain but who have struggled in the US, notably the singer Robbie Williams, Jones knows that expanding overseas will be tough. He points to the success of his New York club as proof that the Soho House "has legs."
Jones attributes his success to "feeling young" and "being lucky: lucky with our location - London: lucky with our timing - the economy has been booming; and lucky that we have staff who always try to do better." His staff have an alternative explanation. "Nick's a perfectionist ball-breaker," says one of his LA team. "If he drives past and thinks the lights are too bright, he turns round, comes back and turns them down."