Tasting MenuBill Miller, a D.C.-based real estate broker who largely works with restaurants, has seen [the desire to experiment with a menu] play out in the chefs he’s worked with over the years. Ambitious cooks constantly tell him they just want a small place where they can literally have a hand in making every dish.

But I tell them you can’t really make a lot of money doing that, and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy,” he says. These days, many don’t even talk about rent at first, Miller says. But eventually the whole picture has to come together — location, pricing, a concept diners will show up for — to make sure the restaurant is financially viable.

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Ottoman-Taverna-RenderingOttoman Taverna, a full-service Turkish restaurant from Alba Osteria and Pizza Autentica owner Hakan Ilhan, will be the latest addition to Mount Vernon Triangle when it opens next fall.

We teased news of the Turkish spot earlier this fall, when we reported on another concept Ilhan had planned for the neighborhood, L’Hommage Bistro Francais.

Ottoman Taverna is taking 5,517 square feet next door to Alba in the same building. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented the tenant in lease negotiations.

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Want to see some Washingtonians go ballistic? Just call the District a “steakhouse town,” a place where the natives’ love of politics is rivaled only by their lust for thick slabs of charbroiled beef. Almost every time an out-of-town media outlet drops the S-word about the nation’s capital, locals rip in, gleefully noting how out of touch it is.

“In a trophy-class building that we work with, [landlords] don’t say, ‘Looking for steakhouse’ in any way, shape or form,” says broker Bill Miller, who represents both landlords and tenants. “If anything, people are concerned when another steakhouse comes along, and they go, ‘Geez, is this one too many?’ ”

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Georgetown Park has provided countless Washingtonians retail therapy. And it may now satisfy the city’s foodie community as Miller Walker Retail Real Estate works on filling 40k SF of retail and restaurant space.

Principal and co-founder Bill Miller says the location is ideal for restaurants that have a 14th Street vibe—chef-driven with active bar scenes. Georgetown Park, which opened on M Street in 1981, is a DC landmark; Bill, front row left, and firm co-founder Alex Walker, right, are hoping to embellish it. In the back are Durk Stanton and Connor McCarthy.

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HinckleyHinckley Pottery, the D.C. pottery studio that has been a home for Washington’s amateur and professional potters for decades, is in search of a new home with the help of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate.

We think we can put them in a cooler space,” said Bill Miller, who noted that as a destination use, Hinckley Pottery would fit in “around-the-corner” spaces that aren’t on the main drag.

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Six months into its purchase of The Shops at Georgetown Park, Jamestown has tapped Miller Walker to lease up the retail center’s restaurants.

Atlanta-based Jamestown acquired The Shops at Georgetown Park in August from Vornado Realty Trust. The purchase price was $272.5 million, or $893 per square foot.

In this new initiative, Jamestown is focusing specifically on the retail center’s selection of restaurants, with the aim of increasing dining options for the neighborhood.

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The newly redone Georgetown Park mall has been gradually adding tenants for the past year, bringing in bargain brands — TJ Maxx, DSW — alongside established luxury and better names, culminating with the opening of Forever21 earlier this month.

So what’s missing? Food.

There’s nearly 27,000 square feet of space currently being marketed for restaurants. Jamestown is working with Miller Walker Retail Real Estate on the restaurant leasing.

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Ruth VeloceAfter 23 years of full-service pies at Pizzeria Paradiso, Ruth Gresser (pictured left) is tackling a new challenge: fast-casual. Come next spring, D.C. will meet Veloce by Pizzeria Paradiso, a quick-serve pizza concept the chef/owner has been thinking over for the past several years.

Veloce — the Italian word for “speed” — aims to open in March at 1828 L St. NW, in a neighborhood becoming a hub for many new fast-casual concepts coming into the market. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented the tenant in the lease deal.

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Big players in restaurant operations and real estate had a lot to say Monday at Bisnow’s Restaurant Development Summit. The conversation at The Hamilton hovered on making sustainable food a sustainable business model, and the restaurant climate in DC. We have the top 10 quotes:

“We’ve all consumed the Forbes article Kool-Aid that said we’re the coolest city, but you have to do something that makes you money, otherwise there will be a domino effect of failures.” – Bill Miller, Miller Walker Retail Real Estate

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Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Stephen Strasburg and Wilson Ramos. Developers and restaurants. One of those partnerships might seem not like the others, but as we heard yesterday at our 4th annual DC Restaurant Development Summit, DC’s retail and restaurant revolution won’t go very far without landlords and business owners meeting halfway.

Miller Walker Retail Real Estate’s Bill Miller is watching H Street NE, with retail rents approaching 14th Street Corridor-type levels—as much as $100 per SF. But Bill figures that high might not be sustainable, since the corridor isn’t yet as fully developed as 14th Street.

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Mount Vernon Triangle will soon add a French restaurant to its dining choices, thanks to a restaurateur already doing business in the neighborhood.

Hakan Ilhan, who owns Alba Osteria at 425 Eye Street, NW, has signed a lease for a 6,361-square-foot space at 450 K Street, NW.

The 220-seat restaurant will include two private dining rooms that can be combined to seat 120. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented Ilhan; Streetsense represented the landlord.

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July 11, 2014

What Happened to Crumbs?

Not so long ago, Crumbs Bake Shop was one of the fastest rising brands in DC. Today, all five locations here have closed. We caught up with two local retail experts to hear three reasons why.

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).

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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The retail frenzy that is ICSC continues through today, and Bisnow is still on the scene in Vegas.

At the big DC booth yesterday, we caught up with Mayor Gray, who tells us that as he leaves office, improvements in job creation, education, public safety, and of course, real estate developmentare his proudest accomplishments.

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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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 31 development. It will be in the Darcy building.

An opening date estimate wasn’t given.

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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. is also working on locations in Georgetown, Capitol Hill and College Park.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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