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JULY 2014

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“There’s a little bubble building for rents in retail in DC,” says Bill Miller, who heads up Miller Walker Retail Real Estate along with partner Alex Walker (snapped near their Georgetown office yesterday). Since some landlords are commanding $100/PSF or more in retail, competitors are expecting the same, putting pressure on tenants to reach unrealistic sales goals to justify the high rents and stay in business. Crumbs, which this week filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and immediately shuttered its 65 locationsnationwide, may have fallen victim to the rent rise, since its sales were known to be less than stellar and it leased small, highly-visible locations in major markets.

When Crumbs first arrived in DC a few years back, competition in the baked goods space wasn’t nearly as stiff as today. As there’s more to choose from, customers are flocking to the best, the guys say. Crumbs may have suffered from an inferior product. And one bad experience is enough to turn people away, Bill says: “The problem with food is, you’re only as good as your last meal. And customers are very hard to get back.”


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MAY 2014

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Steve Wynn’s Encore Beach Club hosted the big annual Maryland Party last night, complete with pool fireworks, Revolutionary War marching bands, and Abe Lincoln impersonators. (If you’re Honest Abe, and somebody asks you “What happened in Vegas,” does it still stay in Vegas?) Pausing briefly amidst the action: Miller Walker’s Bill Miller and Alex Walker (repping clients such as AMC Theaters and new diner concept Silver) with Rappaport’s Henry Fonvielle and Michael Kang, who manned one of the show’s bigger booths.

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APRIL 2014

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Also on the fast-casual front, Rosslyn is getting some more. Capriotti’s, the Delaware favorite sandwich franchise that made a splash when it opened in D.C. last year thanks to an opening day visit from Vice President Joe Biden, has signed a lease for 1500 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn.

It’s the first retail tenant announced for the building, which recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented Capriotti’s; John Asadoorian of Asadoorian Retail Solutions represented the landlord, Penzance Cos.

Local Capriotti’s franchisee George Vincent Jr. has been working on the Rosslyn deal for some time. He’s also working on locations in Georgetown, Capitol Hill and College Park.


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APRIL 2014

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Paul Bakery’s expansion continues in earnest. The latest lease:Bethesda. According to an email blast from brokerage firm Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, Paul is headed to the upcoming Lot 31development. It will be in the Darcy building. An opening date estimate wasn’t given.

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MARCH 2014

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D.C.’s Capital Fringe Festival is looking for a little more permanence.

Capital Fringe, which runs a summer theater festival with dozens of edgy performances every August, plans to spend up to $5 million to build the Fringe Art & Performance Space. The group is seeking a long-term lease of between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet in D.C. It expects to fund the endeavor through a capital campaign.

The new space will be a multifaceted venue that will include three black box theaters, a bar and cafe, an art gallery and a scene shop for set design and creation.

Bill Miller of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, which is representing Capital Fringe, said the group hopes to land in either an up-and-coming or established neighborhood.

“They will be a destination, but we’re also looking for a neighborhood where when there are shows on, the foot traffic will result in better attendance,” Miller said. “At the same time, this is a real community builder, the kind of exciting space that can drive traffic into an area that wants more traffic in the evenings.”


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MARCH 2014

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A fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant called Zeytuna Mediterranean has signed a lease at 2600 Virginia Ave. NW, according to Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, which worked on the deal. No more opening date was immediately available.

Opening much sooner will be a casual restaurant from Chef Bob Kinkead called Campono, a trattoria that will offer pizza, panini, salads, among other fare. The restaurant, which will also include a gelato and coffee station for eat-in or takeout, aims to open March 28, according to a post on Facebook.


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FEBRUARY 2014

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Silver Diner, the chain of area diners that began on Rockville Pike, will debut its downsized, urbanized Silver restaurant concept at Bethesda’s Lot 31 project.

Owner Bob Giaimo made the announcement to the Washington Business Journal, which reported the news Monday.

The new Silver restaurant will have a much smaller menu and more premium, locally-sourced items than the wide-ranging breakfast, lunch and dinner selections at the diner.

Silver is the second restaurant announced for the Lot 31 apartment and condominium project in the last two weeks. PassionFish, the upscale seafood restaurant from the group that owns DC Coast and Fuego Cocina y Tequileria, will open when developer StonebridgeCarras completes it in 2015.

Giaimo and chef Ype Von Hengst have been developing the idea for a more millennial-friendly restaurant since last year. Giaimo told the Washington Business Journal’s Rebecca Cooper that he realized the need for the change when Federal Realty announced plans for its massive mixed-use Pike & Rose project for Mid-Pike Plaza.

That’s where Giaimo’s first Silver Diner opened in 1989. Because of the redevelopment, Giaimo moved the location farther north on Rockville Pike.

Also new in the Silver concept will be a bar, something definitely never seen in a Silver Diner. A new design and outdoor seating is also expected to make the concept fit more into the Bethesda Row restaurant landscape.

Rendering via Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, who represented SILVER in the deal.


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DECEMBER 2013

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More news on the Peet’s invasion: The coffee shop has signed a lease for space at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the building that is home to Central and formerly housed Ten Penh restaurant.Peet’s will take the former Citibank space at the corner of E Street and 11th Street NW. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented the landlord, TIAA-CREF, while Bill Dickinson and Patrick O’Meara of Rappaport Retail Brokerage represented Peet’s Coffee & Tea in the deal.

The building at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW is getting another new tenant next year: San Francisco seafood restaurant Tadich Grill will open a location in the old Ten Penh space.

D.C.-area coffee aficionados will be seeing a lot more of Peet’s in the coming months as the region’s remaining Caribou Coffee locations become Peet’s Coffee & Tea shops. Peet’s parent company, the Germany-based Joh. A. Benckiser investment group, acquired Caribou Coffee earlier this year.


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NOVEMBER 2013

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Capriotti’s, the Delaware-based delicatessen whose favor with Vice President Joe Biden has been well-documented, will open its first D.C. location at 1800 M St. NW.George Vincent Jr., the Capriotti’s franchisee developing the D.C. market, confirmed he has signed a lease for the space. He hopes to open the deli by the first or second week of November. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented Capriotti’s in the deal.The fast-casual restaurant will face M Street in a location formerly home to a My Eye Dr., which moved to a new location on L Street NW in 2012. Vincent is hoping the shop will get Biden’s attention, especially given that it’s just a few blocks from the White House.”Maybe instead of he and [President Barack Obama] going to Taylor Gourmet, they are going to be coming to Capriotti’s,” Vincent said.

The owner is also near a deal for a location in Rosslyn, and is in talks for spots in Georgetown, Capitol Hill and in College Park.

The downtown location will offer text message specials to those who sign up. Vincent expects to do a good deal of business during the lunch hour, but is also planning to stay open late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, “to service the club and bar scene we know is in that area,” he said. “We’re right on the border of a seven-days-a-week area.”


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NOVEMBER 2013

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Maddy’s Tap Room is looking for new locations.The bar is on the hunt for additional outposts in such neighborhoods asWoodley Park, Mount Vernon Triangle, West End, Capitol Hill andDupont Circle. According to their brokerage firm, Miller Walker Real Estate, they’re interested in locations between 2,500 square feet and 5,000 square feet in size. According to broker Alex Walker, they’re trying to find a location as soon as possible, and only looking in D.C. proper.Maddy’s Tap Room opened downtown about a year ago, from the same ownership group as Dupont Circle’s Maddy’s Bar & Grille. The newer location has more of a Tex-Mex vibe

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SEPTEMBER 2013

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DC’s West End Library has a new, historic home… temporarily. Penzance has locked it down for the 5,000 SF former Saks Jandel space at 2600 Virginia Ave in the Watergate complex, a temporary location while the library’s current 24th Street spot is redeveloped by Eastbanc as part of a new mixed-use project. Penzance’s Matt Pacinelli tells us the library will occupy the space “as soon as possible,” and that the firm is happy to welcome a solid community benefit, if even for just a short time. Matt adds that there’s still a 1,500 SF space available right next to the West End Library’s new spot, which faces the Watergate’s hotel and office building entrance. (Perfect location for a Bookmark Hut.) Bill Miller and Alex Walker of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate repped Penzance in the deal.

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AUGUST 2013

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The former Lawson’s Gourmet space at 1776 Eye St has found a new tenant, as retail brokers Bill Miller and Alex Walker just closed a 3,600 SF deal with deli The Best Sandwich Place on behalf of landlord Rockrose. Alex tells us the tenant is shooting for a late 2013/early 2014 opening, and that there’s still another space available on the 18th Street side of the building. (The Best Condiments Place would be a good option.) Fairfax Realty’s Kevin Shin repped the restaurant.

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AUGUST 2013

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Blues, food and alcohol under one roof? That’s the idea behind chain venue B.B. King’s Restaurant and Blues Club, which is shopping around D.C. to find a location.The company is working with firm Miller Walker Real Estate to find the right site in D.C. Broker Bill Miller says they’ve toured several locations in D.C. proper, but there’s no lease signed yet. They’re looking at places between 8,000 and 12,000 square feet in size, and considering spots that stretch over two levels.B.B. King’s locations, currently located in such places as Nashville and Las Vegas, pair live music with food items like steaks, pastas and burgers. Here’s the menu in Memphis. Tommy Peters will operate the D.C. area clubs

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JUNE 2013

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D.C. will soon get a taste of some of Delaware’s favorite sandwiches whenCapriotti’s sandwich shop, which gets rave reviews from Vice President Joe Biden, arrives in the Washington area.Franchisee George Vincent Jr. has signed an agreement to open 12 Capriotti’s locations in the District, Maryland and Virginia and is actively seeking locations throughout the region, according to Bill Miller and Alex Walker of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate.Vincent is already in talks for locations in downtown D.C. and Rosslyn and hopes to open them both by the end of the year. As for future sites, he is seeking 1,500 to 2,500 square feet in a busy, highly trafficked location.Capriotti’s — which started in Delaware in 1976 and now has dozens of franchises around the country — serves hot and cold subs made with house-roasted, hand-pulled meats and other handcrafted ingredients.Vincent, a D.C. native, had been looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity in the region since moving back from North Carolina, where he completed his master’s in business administration at the University of North Carolina. He remembered Capriotti’s sandwiches from trips to the beach in Delaware, “and I was shocked this hadn’t caught on in the D.C. area.”"There are great places to get a sandwich in D.C., but you end up spending $20 for lunch,” he said. “We’re offering great products at a great price. We’re talking a 9-inch sub, chips and a soda for around $10 to $11.”Capriotti’s sandwiches, including the trademarked Bobbie with house-roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, became famous during President Barack Obama’s first election because Biden catered his inauguration lunch with them.

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MAY 2013

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Our sister publication San Francisco Business Times reported some restaurant news Monday of interest to D.C. : Tadich Grill, one of the California city’s oldest restaurants, plans to open a location in the District.Tadich Grill, which has been serving seafood to San Francisco for more than 160 years, will open at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in the former Tenpenh restaurant space at that address. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented the landlord in the deal.The Tenpenh space has been empty since the Pan-Asian restaurant from Passion Food Hospitality LLC closed in June 2011. There is no word yet on when Tadich Grill would open

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MAY 2013

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Miller Walker Retail Real Estate announced yesterday it brokered a new deal at The Watergate, bringing Northern Virginia sandwich mainstay The Deli to the historic building. Miller Walker’s Alex Walker (who worked the deal with colleague Bill Miller) tells us the location will open soon, and a spokesperson from The Deli’s Fairfax location tells us the Watergate spot will be the chain’s first DC location, joining other NoVa locations in Herndon and Sterling.

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APRIL 2013

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I wrote last week about Alamo Drafthouse’s plans to bring its quirky brand of movie theaters to D.C., and now it appears that cinema company AMC Entertainment Inc. is actively seeking to expand in the region.AMC hopes to open one or two new sites per year in the region, either through renovation/redevelopment of an existing theater or new construction, according to Bill Miller of Miller Walker Real Estate, which is helping AMC scout sites. The company is primarily interested in sites more than 3 miles from another major cinema.AMC recently overhauled its Courthouse theater, unveiling to the region its luxury concept, complete with large leather recliners, footrests, assigned seating and expanded concessions. (The results are palpable: As someone who dreaded the outdated theater, Courthouse has now become my sought-after option. Apparently I’m not the only one; I missed finally seeing “Silver Linings Playbook” last Saturday night because it was sold out, something I never remember happening at the former theater.)The cinema company has also been testing dine-in concepts along the lines of what I wrote about last week at Alamo Drafthouse in other markets.The new AMCs in the region could follow this model or other new concepts, according to Miller.

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APRIL 2013

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Who will be the next Chipotle? Could Chipotle be the next Chipotle? And if we write Chipotle enough times, will we get a free burrito? Two local retail experts tell us the competition between quick service food chains remains hotter than ever.Miller Walker Retail Real Estate principals Bill Miller and Alex Walker (snapped yesterday in their Georgetown office) tell us fast casual chains are getting more sophisticated, raising the bar for creating concepts that will catch on. According to Bill, the trend really stems from the busy lifestyle of DC’s working crowd. “As a percentage of food we buy, it’s more prepared food than food we cook at home,” he says. And within the fast casual sector, “our market is looking for really high-quality food that is interesting,” Bill tells us.Alex says a trip to McDonald’s, Burger King, or Taco Bell has been replaced by fast casuals such as PAUL Bakery, Sweetgreen, and Chop’t. And healthier ingredients aren’t the only facets that have elevated the new class: Notice the higher-quality designs and build-outs. Anyone working in downtown DC knows the bevy of food trucks, each with a distinctive concept, make the competition that much fiercer. Fast casual spots even have a challenge from supermarkets now, as some high-end markets like Whole Foods have prepared food sections taking up large portions of their footprint, offering food selections that rival the hottest quick service chains, Alex tells us.As the fast casual battle rages on, Bill and Alex remain bullish on the greater DC retail market. Alex says “every retailer has DC on the map.” Submarkets they say to watch are the H Street Corridor (“ahead of the curve” with escalating rents, Bill says), Mt Vernon Triangle (should benefit from the huge Arnold & Porter and Georgetown U leases signed nearby, as well as the new Association of American Medical Colleges HQ, above, according to Alex) and of course, Georgetown, which will “always churn” with new and unique retailers, Bill says. As we reported yesterday, the guys recently closed a lease there with Irish pub Ri Ra at 3123-3125 M Street. (Ri Ra, however, isn’t fast casual, unless you yell at the chef to hurry up—we advise against that.)

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APRIL 2013

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As if we didn’t have enough Georgetown coverage for you today: Miller Walker Retail Real Estate principals Bill Miller and Alex Walker announced last week they closed a 9,500 SF deal with Irish pub Ri Ra at 3123-3125 M Street. Bill tells us Ri Ra hopes to infuse the space with antiques from Ireland. The building (which we snapped yesterday) has been vacantsince October, when Asian restaurant Mie N Yu moved out. The building is, of course, zoned “funny name.”Here’s a rendering of the new spot, which is flanked on M Street by Johnny Rockets and Urban Outfitters. The Georgetown location joins other local Ri Ras in Clarendon and Bethesda, as well as 10 others nationwide.

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APRIL 2013

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Ri Ra Irish Pub has signed a lease in Georgetown, its third Washington-area location.Ri Ra will take over space at 3123-3125 M St. NW, previously occupied by Asian restaurant Mie N Yu, which closed abruptly in October.Miller Walker Retail Real Estate brokered the transaction. The company did not say when the Georgetown Ri Ra would open.Ri Ra’s existing locations are in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood and on Elm Street in Bethesda.

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JANUARY 2013

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Those who like plenty of choices when it comes to sandwiches will find them at Which Wich, the chain opening a Ballston location later this year. The company has signed a deal to open at 4300 Wilson Blvd., where Daily Grind used to be.Broker Alex Walker of Miller Walker Real Estate, who worked on the deal, said the restaurant is just over 1,000 square feet in size, and will open later in the spring. The Dallas-based Which Wich chain is known for having customizable sandwiches with more than 50 combinations. Customers use a red marker to check off their items of choice before placing your order. Sometimes the restaurant will hang up drawings that customers have made on their personalized sandwich bags on the wall for decoration.

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DECEMBER 2012

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It’s an old-fashioned concept — dinner and a movie — but landlords are looking at it with newfound interest when they search for tenants to populate a retail center. The Washington region is seeing an increased number of high-end, food-centric and luxury movie theaters focused on independent films. The new, more formidable theaters arrive at a time when the movie industry as whole is suffering from sluggish ticket sales and increased competition from at-home options, including Netflix and Blu-ray Discs.”In the past, it was luxurious to go to any movie theater, kind of like air travel in its infancy,” said Bill Miller of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, which has helped landlords bring in movie theater tenants, including Silverspot, bound for Rock Spring Centre in Bethesda. “Now, it’s more of a commodity, and people are demanding more of a premium, first-class experience – and they’ll pay more for a better experience. It needs to be better than the 50-inch screen at home.”

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DECEMBER 2012

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The owner of an historic downtown D.C. office building one block from the White House is looking to fill its first floor retail space, which was once a bank branch, with a “signature restaurant.”The John Buck Co. purchased 740 15th St. NW from the American Bar Association one year ago for $69.2 million. The bank branch that accounted for much of the first floor is now closed, and the space at the corner of 15th and H streets is available for lease. The remainder of the building will be renovated, the landlord said.According to a flyer produced by Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, the 11,697 square feet of first floor retail space features “dramatic historic banking hall space with 20 foot ceilings” and is “ideal for a landmark, signature restaurant.” Whatever restaurant takes the first floor may have the option of moving onto the second. Attorneys for the John Buck Co. approached D.C.’s zoning administrator in November to ask whether it would be possible to expand the second floor with 4,792 additional square feet “for use as a restaurant in connection with the space on the first floor.” Jonathan Bilton, vice president of The John Buck Co., told me there is no lease or occupancy agreement in-place at 740 15th and the company “has no concrete or binding plans to share.” The building is located across H Street from the Sofitel, across 15th Street from Woodward Table (formerly Potenza) and less than a block away from Bobby Van’s Steakhouse. The 176,000-square-foot Union Trust Co. building is listed on the District’s Inventory of Historic Places. Built in 1906-1907 and designed by the local firm of Wood, Donn and Deming, the nine-story Neo-Classical Revival building was designed with a grand two-story banking hall on the lower levels and speculative office space on the upper floors. John Buck Co., as Buck Services DC LLC, submitted an application to the Historic Preservation Review Board to convert the first floor to a restaurant with an entrance at 15th and H, to install a vertical sign and open-sided fabric shed awnings, among other minor alterations. Those changes earned the support of the Historic Preservation Office in late November. The American Bar Association negotiated a lease back on its headquarters space through Aug. 31, 2013, at which point it will move to Washington Square at 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW.

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DECEMBER 2012

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After a series of successes with American Cafe and Silver Diner, restaurateur Bob Giaimois ready for a third act, returning to downtown D.C. with a new restaurant that he’s dubbed simply “Silver.” “The new concept is back to the future, back to the cities,” Giaimo said. “We call it American food evolution, which combines the best of American bistro food with the best of the diner.” Setting itself apart from a diner, Silver is a more sophisticated option than fast food. But it features some of a traditional diner’s DNA with “always-on” hours from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., and goals to serve a meal within 10 minutes of ordering. Giaimo will continue the partnership with Chef Ype Von Hengst with whom he co-founded Silver Diner. The first Silver will debut next fall, targeting high-end office buildings from Georgetown to Capitol Hill with high volumes of 24/7 traffic, though specific locations have yet to be decided. The ideal sites will be 4,000 to 5,000 square feet, each with 150 seats for an estimated 10,000 people a week. The restaurateurs hope to bring in annual revenue of up to $4 million to $5 million through the concept, and a premier location will likely cost $2 million, according to Giaimo. Silver will carry on Silver Diner’s “farm-to-table” tradition introduced in 2010, while expanding its number of relationships to 15 local farms from Silver Diner’s 10. “Practically all of the products that are on the menu of Silver come from local farms,” said Giaimo. “We’re treating farm food with a contemporary edge.” Dishes on the menu will range from Southwest bison sliders, with bison meat from Gunpowder Farms in Monkton, Md., to daylong breakfast options with eggs from Lancaster, Pa.-based Martin’s Quality Egg. A proscenium bar will serve only local beers or wine, as well as spiked shakes. “This is a very progressive idea,” said Bill Miller, a restaurant broker and principal at Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, who’s working with the Silver concept. “These guys are crazy — everything that they find, they can improve to get a better quality of product.” The design work will be done by Dale Stewart, principal at CORE Group PC, whose D.C. restaurant portfolio includes Brasserie Beck and Café du Parc. If successful, Giaimo plans to open more restaurants under the same model, first expanding along the East Coast. He also mentioned international interest from Istanbul and Beijing.

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DECEMBER 2012

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A home-cooked meal just isn’t always in the cards. That’s why fast-casual food chains like Chipotle, Chop’t, and Sweetgreen are here to stay, say Miller Walker Retail Real Estate’s Bill Miller and Alex Walker, whom we snapped in their Georgetown office. As locals work later, Bill says, they’ll carry out and dine in more often, making those stores solid retail tenants both Downtown and in the ‘burbs.Busy schedules haven’t kept DCers from becoming savvy foodies though, Alex says, so the proliferation of trendy food trucks and farm-to-table restaurants will also hold steady. Bill and Alex are busy repping the likes of Pinkberry and PAUL Bakery. That Parisian staple has opened at 1000 Connecticut (which we snapped the other day), 2000 Penn, 801 Penn, and Georgetown and is coming soon to Tysons Galleria. And the duo just signed Caffe Aficionado at Paramount Group’s Waterview (1919 N. Lynn) in Rosslyn. Papadopoulos’ John Gogos repped the tenant.

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DECEMBER 2012

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Restaurant-starved Rosslyn is going to get a new coffeeshop. Caffe Aficionado has signed a lease for 1919 N. Lynn St. in Rosslyn. According to broker Alex Walker of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate, who leases the building, they’d like to get open by spring.There aren’t a whole lot of details about the coffeeshop available, but according to its Twitter account, they’re going to be upscale in style, and serve coffee from Handsome Coffee Roasters. They plan to have artisanal pastries and sandwiches along with the coffee, and are looking to open additional locations once this one gets off the ground. Architecture firm Grupo7 will be designing the cafe to have a sophisticated look. The company also tries to rely on organic and local products when possible.

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NOVEMBER 2012

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The Mount Vernon Triangle CID and The Wilkes Company-Quadrangle Development co-sponsored a broker lunch where Bill Miller and Alex Walker announced that Al Dente will be opening a 5,000 square foot Italian restaurant in 425 Eye. The expo highlighted not only the remarkable success of The Triangle, but also the next wave of office and retail development. The event attracted 80 brokers who were briefed on our planned office buildings, exciting new retail spaces, and DDOT’s transformation of K Street. “This is a great day for The Triangle,” declared Charles (Sandy) Wilkes, Chairman of The Wilkes Company. “There is so much enthusiasm for this neighborhood and it seems like everyone wants to be here – residents, associations, law firms, and retailers. We are way ahead of even our most optimistic projections.” The lunch and expo was held at 455 Mass in the former Buddha Bar space.

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NOVEMBER 2012

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When Barnes & Noble agreed to a one-year lease extension for its Union Station store last week, it wasn’t so much a reprieve for local lovers of books as it was for lovers of bookstores. The chain had announced earlier in the week that it would close the store by year’s end — which to many in the retail trade did not come as a surprise. Rival Borders had already closed its stores, after that chain was forced to liquidate in the summer of 2011.“There’s going to be room for some book stores to be around, but the question for brick-and-mortar retailers, when they’re fighting against online [sales], is how many are there going to be in the region?” said Bill Miller, principal at Miller Walker Retail Real Estate. Miller said locations in airports, train stations and college campuses are most likely to persevere. Otherwise, stores will need to update their formats to cater to shoppers who are likely to carry an e-reader or tablet computer into the store when they arrive and may be less interested in a place to buy a printed book as a place to read an e-book. “The older generation has a warm and fuzzy feeling about libraries, and I think that’s why you saw Barnes & Noble build a lot of their stores with that library-type feeling,” Miller said. But younger shoppers never spent time picking through the stacks at libraries, Miller added. “Perhaps there’s a way that bookstores can transform themselves into something that’s more relevant,” he said.

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NOVEMBER 2012

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Restaurant and brewery Gordon Biersch has officially signed a lease for space at 100 M Street, SE in the Capitol Riverfront. Miller Walker Real Estate brokered the 8,500 SF lease for the space located in the building owned by New York based Northwood Investors LLC. Build out of the space has begun and Gordon Biersch anticipates opening in time for next baseball season.Gordon Biersch follows several restaurants set to open in the Capitol Riverfront. BID staff have met with various representatives from Gordon Biersch and the CraftWorks franchise several times over the years, and we welcome Gordon Biersch to the neighborhood.

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NOVEMBER 2012

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J. Alexander’s is shopping around DC to open up restaurants in the region.Brokerage firm Miller Walker Retail Real Estate will be showing representatives from the company around town next week to look at potential locations for the restaurant. They’re interested in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Broker Bill Miller says the group is interested in the “usual suspects” when it comes to locations — the East End, downtown, Georgetown, Tysons Corner and Bethesda. “Mostly just great sites with a good lunch [crowd],” Miller said.J. Alexander’s restaurants are large — about 8,000 square feet in size — and known for having an extensive wine selection. A typical menu features burgers, flatbreads, entrees like steaks and seafoods, salads and taco platters. Consumer Reports listed the restaurant group in its top nine U.S. restaurant chains. The Nashville-based restaurant group, which was bought out by Fidelity in June, has more than 30 locations.

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NOVEMBER 2012

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Beers and the ballpark — what could be a better combination? Real estate firm Miller Walker sends word that they’ve negotiated a lease with brewery chain Gordon Biersch for 100 M St. SE, right near Nationals Stadium. The new brewery will be about 8,500 square feet in size; the opening date wasn’t immediately available.Gordon Biersch has been interested in the neighborhood for a long time — since 2009, in fact. Back then, there weren’t really any restaurants to speak of in that area. Now, not only are there established players like Justin’s Cafe, but there are other restaurants on the way, like the anticipated Blue Jacket from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. There are Gordon Biersch locations in McLean, Rockville and in Penn Quarter.

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SEPTEMBER 2012

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Italian restaurant Al Dente has signed a lease for a second location.The restaurant, from founder Hakan Ilhan and chef Roberto Donna, has signed a lease for 5,500 square feet at 425 Eye St. NW, according to an announcement from Miller Walker Real Estate, which brokered the deal.Al Dente opened last March near American University. The restaurant was originally christened La Forchetta, but renamed itself in September due to confusion with another similarly named local restaurant.An opening date for the latest Al Dente has not been announced.

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SEPTEMBER 2012

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Penzance is slowly building up occupancy at one of Washington’s most iconic complexes: the Watergate. The company acquired it at the end of last year from the mezz lender, amidst news its anchor retail tenant, Safeway, would be leaving. CVS has signed a long-term lease to expand its presence from its current 8,000 SF space to 13,000 SF at the former Safeway space. The deal will make CVS the largest tenant in the 65,000 SF retail plaza.Penzance has retained Bill Miller and Alex Walker of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate to market the current 8,000 SF CVS space along with the balance of the retail plaza. CVS is a clear example of tenants’ initial hesitancy about the Watergate; it inked a shorter-term deal when Penzance first acquired the Watergate. “We worked to convince them to stay longer,” Pacinelli says. There have been other renewals of retail tenants as well, he adds, and “we are working on more right now.” Currently there is about 100,000 SF of vacant office space at the Watergate and 20,000 SF of available retail space.

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JULY 2012PRESS Men will soon have a new trendy upscale location where they pick up a suit. Suitsupply, an Amsterdam-based company whose suits are known for being well-made if not a bit flashy, has signed a lease for 5,653 square feet adjacent to the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown. Alex Walker of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate worked with Suitsupply, while John Asadoorian represented the landlord.The store, still under construction, is the first in the area. Suitsupply also has a U.S. store in New York, and another under construction in Chicago.“Everything in our store is about tailoring,” said CEO Fokke de Jong, who described the company’s look as elegant men’s fashion done in a new and energetic way. “Some people say that we’re really not your dad’s kind of store.”Suitsupply stores tend to be destination retail, de Jong said. The company thought the Georgetown location would appeal to a young demographic interested in dressing to impress. The store will open later this summer.”

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MAY 2012

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Retail Hotspots Of the Future?


You’ve heard prime retail space in DC commands rents over $100/SF. But where is growth headed? We polled the experts.
Mt. Vernon Triangle – A fast-growing residential base in Mount Vernon Triangle (bounded by 7th St, NY Ave, NJ Ave, and Mass Ave) is primed for retail growth, says Miller Walker co-founder Bill Miller. “After the huge success at City Vista, there is little street-level space available, and developers can’t build apartments there fast enough.” Add to the mix a smattering of office buildings and hotels, the convention center and Verizon Center nearby, and you’ve got enough daytime traffic to sustain stores. And that helps position it against other popular retail drags like 14th St, where “there’s no lunch crowd.Capitol Riverfront – The ballpark area is another sleeper,” Bill tells us. “It’s basically Capitol Hill South—just a few blocks to the north, there’s a sea of rowhomes with few retail options.” Add to the mix 6.8M SF of office space, 2,677 multifamily units, a respectable record by the team, and a waterfront park in The Yards, and the future looks promising. “It’s going to take a little bit of time to percolate out, but if you’re not paying attention to this, you’re taking your eye off the ball,” says Bill.

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APRIL 2012

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Retail vets Bill Miller and Alex Walker have left Transwestern to create their own brokerage firm, MILLER WALKER. “Transwestern is a great company,” Bill tells us, “but Alex and I felt it was time to strike out on our own and create a small firm focusing only on retail.” The two will continue to represent The Peterson Cos and DRI at the 1M SF Rock Spring Centre in Bethesda, in addition to repping restaurants the Silver Diner, PAUL Bakery, and CraftWorks (which manages the Gordon Biersch, Old Chicago, and Chophouse brands.)

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APRIL 2012

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Two well-known retail brokers in the District have teamed up to start their own venture.Transwestern Retail alumni Bill Miller and Alex Walkerhave joined forces to launch Miller Walker Retail Real Estate. Their new firm will focus on representing both retail landlords and potential tenants in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. “This is a buddy film,” Miller joked about his partnership with Walker. “It’s something we have contemplated doing for a long time, and we just decided it was time to venture out and do our own thing, which is not unusual in the retail brokerage world.”The new venture is headquartered in Georgetown in Suite 300 at 2715 M St. NW, where they have leased about 1,000 square feet of space.Walker and Miller have represented such tenants in the past as Gordon Biersch and Pizzeria Autentica and done landlord work for such properties as 1901 L St. NW and the upcoming Rock Spring Centre. They will continue to work with the majority of their previous clients, Miller said.The company eventually plans to hire additional employees and grow slowly, but wishes to remain a boutique-sized firm, Miller said. Their goals for their first year are pretty straightforward.”We just want to keep doing what we always do, and do it a little better every day,” said Miller. “And have fun doing it,” added Walker. Sounds like the makings of a buddy comedy to me.