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Bill Miller and Alex Walker ICSC RECon Party responsible for Bisnow Beltway Bash MILLER WALKER RetailMany of the participants at this year’s Bisnow Beltway Bash (ICSC RECon Party) may not know it, but the event actually began as a twinkle in the eyes of Bill Miller and Alex Walker of Miller Walker Retail Real Estate a little over two years ago.

Bill and Alex were flying back from ICSC RECon 2014. They were lamenting the fact that there was no regional event for players in the DC area. Not the way there is for Maryland, DC and other nearby states. Bill had moderated panels for Bisnow events in DC for several years at that point. And slowly it dawned on him…

“I realized I knew exactly the person to put something like that together: Mark Bisnow,” Bill says, referring to Bisnow’s founder. “He wasn’t sure about it at first, but it was just such a slam dunk. He eventually came around.”

Bill spent the next few months helping Mark sign on sponsors and get the word out to potential attendees. Last year RECon rolled around and Bisnow held its first Beltway Bash. Bill says both he and Mark were thrilled by how well it went.

“Some were a bit skeptical at first, but this is what Bisnow does better than anyone else, and it went off without a hitch,” Bill says. “It drew a real ‘who’s who’ from the DC area’s retail community and a great time was had by all.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. We’re thrilled Miller Walker Retail Real Estate has joined us as a founding partner—what else would they be?—of our Bisnow Beltway Bash, to be held on May 23, at 5:30pm at the Wynn’s Intrigue Nightclub at ICSC RECon Party. We hope you’ll join us.

Ottoman-Taverna-Rendering coming to mount vernon triangle

Ottoman Taverna Coming to Mount Vernon Triangle

Ottoman 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.

Take into account Alba Osteria, the restaurant Ilhan opened with Chef Roberto Donna at 425 Eye St. NW last year, and by next year Ilhan will have the neighborhood triangulated — get it?? — with three large restaurants serving three completely different cuisines. The restaurateur has been keen on expanding his empire in the neighborhood. Ilhan says he believes it will be the next one to rise in popularity.

ABout the restaurant

The restaurant will have 200 seats, and approximately 60 on an outdoor patio. Ilhan expects to put more than $2 million into the restaurant. This including grills for charcoal and gas and separate ventilation systems to go with them. It will also have a wood-burning oven in an open kitchen.

The menu will feature the traditional Turkish cuisine of his native country. Traditional dishes including cold mezze dishes, spit-roasted meats, flatbreads and more. He hopes it will become a destination within D.C. This will be one of the only authentic Turkish restaurants. Hopefully it will capitalize on clientele from Capitol Hill who have traveled to Turkey, Department of Defense employees who have experienced the cuisine while stationed at the two large U.S. military bases there, and the city’s growing cadre of foodies.

The idea to do a Turkish restaurant had been in the back of his mind since he began opening his chain of Pizza Autentica parlors a decade ago. He admits there’s “something sentimental” about this project.

I just wanted to do justice to Turkish cuisine. Many restaurants here haven’t had the ability to do it,” he said. “I thought to myself… if I can represent my native country to my friends in America, and my daughters, who are very American… for them to be able to experience this with their friends would give me a lot of pleasure.

DC Steakhouse mortons Georgetowm

If D.C.’s steakhouse days are over, why do so many new ones keep opening?

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?’

The District has entered a kind of post-red-meat paradise, populated by celebrity-chef restaurants (both imported and homegrown), idiosyncratic neighborhood eateries, craft cocktail bars, high-concept beer emporiums and, slated for September, a restaurant dedicated to the ingredients of the Mid-Atlantic.

But since early last year, there has been a revival. No fewer than eight steakhouses have opened in the District.

Most of those operations, save for Claudia’s, have one thing in common: They’re native to other locales, created by outside celebrity chefs, well-known restaurateurs or large hospitality groups such as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago (which opened Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab) or Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group in Texas. No matter how sophisticated Washington may think its tastes have become, outsiders still seem to view the town as a backwoods burg addicted to steak and potatoes.

Except this boomlet in beef caves is not that easy to explain away. Even the experts disagree. Some say Washington’s economic boom, which has attracted more people with disposable income, has likewise drawn high-dollar, high-volume restaurants that can afford the soaring rents. Others say the resurgence has to do with the large hospitality groups themselves and their never-ending need to expand into untapped markets. And then some say it’s just endemic to Washington.

“Politics and steak and potatoes [are] kind of like peanut butter and jelly,” says Mark Bucher, co-owner of Medium Rare, a small steak-frites chain with outposts in Cleveland Park and Barracks Row. “Big American car. Big American steak. Big American politics. I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to change that.”

New Steakhouses in DC

Many of the newest steakhouses have leased space in what one real estate broker calls “trophy buildings”: mixed-use condo developments or multi-story office buildings that are home to lawyers, accountants and other business heavyweights. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House occupies 18,000 square feet in the trendy CityCenterDC; Joe’s Seafood sprawls over 18,000 square feet inside the historic Union Trust building downtown;Mastro’s Steakhouse covers 14,000 square feet in the same downtown building as PricewaterhouseCoopers. STK DC, a lounge-oriented take on steakhouses, is a relative pip-squeak by comparison: The place takes up more than 8,000 square feet at the base of a Dupont Circle office building.

Prices and pressures

These days, though, it feels risky to place your bets on steak in Washington. Not only are there more than 30 places to order a cut of beef in the District — not including the steakhouses in the suburbs or the casual restaurants that offer steak, too — but beef prices have skyrocketed in recent years. Between July 2009 and July 2015, for example, average wholesale prices for prime rib-eye jumped by 51 percent, from $6.74 to $10.21 per pound.

Because of the soaring prices and, perhaps, America’s decreasing appetite for red meat, chefs and restaurateurs say they struggle to make a profit from beef, even when a prime 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye sells for $59 at Mastro’s and a prime 32-ounce porterhouse at Del Frisco’s costs $89. The sheer number of competitors makes it almost impossible for owners to raise prices significantly higher than their peers’.

“We try to absorb as much as we can” of the price increase, says Tommy Jacomo, executive director of the Palm in Washington, which opened in 1972. Jacomo says he regularly reviews other menus to make sure the Palm remains competitive.

Given such pressures, you have to wonder why similar concepts want to move here. Or why developers and landlords are eager to sign them to long-term leases.

“In a trophy-class building that we work with, [landlords] don’t say, ‘Looking for steakhouse’ in any way, shape or form,” says broker 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?’ ”

The push, then, is coming from outside. With its relatively healthy economy and with wealthy counties surrounding it, the District has become a prime target for large restaurant groups. There’s a palpable sense among these groups that the city — despite its bureaucratic, button-down, red-tape reputation — has developed a swagger. That it’s a place where politicians, lobbyists, pundits, journalists and other members of the wonkocracy have become celebrities in their own right. Some restaurant groups are so gung-ho on Washington, they’re willing to compete with their own brands here. Houston-based Landry’s, for instance, opened Mastro’s despite already running two locations each of Morton’s and McCormick & Schmick’s in the District.

“The annual income [in Washington] is extremely high compared to other areas of the country,” says Tim Whitlock, chief operating officer for Mastro’s. “People can afford to come out, and people like to entertain in D.C.”

But why a steakhouse instead of one of the other dining concepts Landry’s owns? Part of the answer lies with the trophy buildings themselves. The lawyers, accountants and lobbyists who occupy those structures need high-end but approachable restaurants, with private dining rooms, for conducting business. The wheels of Washington, it seems, continue to be greased with rendered beef fat.

“If you’re a lobbyist or you work in government and want to take people out, steak is always a safe bet,” says Richard Sandoval, the chef behind Toro Toro and his eponymous restaurant group. “You won’t go out for what you don’t know.”

Besides, some of the new meat emporiums are steakhouses in name only. They claim or embrace the label even if they put an international spin on the clubby old concept (such as the Brazilian churrascaria Texas de Brazil) or if grilled beef is only part of their draw. Take Claudia’s on 15th Street NW: Its menu is as unconventional as its design. The former includes Latin small plates such as empanadas and chicharrones, while the latter incorporates a chic lounge with white-leather banquettes and contemporary fixtures, a dramatic departure from the traditional dark-paneled steakhouses with paintings of noble hounds and old white dudes.

No matter what you call them, these new-school steakhouses make some of the old guard nervous, as the younger generation flocks to the more contemporary playgrounds. C. Peter “Buzz” Beler, the Prime Rib’s owner, has seen the competition come and go over the 39 years he has operated in Washington. He says his classical approach, with prime meats, tuxedoed captains and a solo pianist tickling the ivories, will ultimately win over meat eaters, even the young ones.

Here’s what happens: I don’t have to attract” millennials, says Beler, who just signed a new 10-year lease. “They come when they have the money. . . .For me, it’s a matter of time.”

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.

One of the restaurant/retail spaces at Georgetown Park has an entrance on M Street (pictured). Miller Walker is also the firm that brought Joe’s Stone Crab to 15th Street, The Hamilton to 14th Street and Jonathan Adler to Georgetown. Bill and Alex launched the Georgetown-based firm three years ago with 40 years of combined experience and focus on retail in mixed-use projects. Alex says the firm is divided pretty evenly between landlord and tenant rep, including for tenant clients like AMC Theatres, PAUL Bakery, Pinkberry and Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. The hits will continue with the recent addition of Connor, who previously worked in the development department at his high school alma mater, Gonzaga.

The firm is also working on leasing the retail space at the Watergate, the original urban town center. Miller Walker has several more projects on its plate, including filling over 25k SF of retail space along Pennsylvania Avenue (2000, 1275 and 1001) and others in the region, including Waterview in Rosslyn and 425 Eye St in the MVT. We’re thrilled Miller Walker is one of our Founding Partners at the Bisnow Beltway Bash on May 18 at 5:30pm at the Wynn’s Tryst Nightclub during ICSC RECon.

Bisnow

Hinckley pottery leaving adams morgan DC and finding new retail space for lease with MILLER WALKER

Hinckley Pottery has plans to move

Hinckley 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.

Hinckley 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.

The studio, founded by Jill Hinckley more than 40 years ago and co-owned by Hinckley and Susan Weber, has called a former warehouse space at 1707 Kalorama Road its home for the past 25 years. But their lease is up, and the owner of the building, nonprofit group Mary’s Center, needs the space for its own purposes, Weber said.

The studio’s space needs have made finding a new location challenging, however. Hinckley and Weber are looking for a space equivalent or slightly bigger than their current 3,000 square feet, and the building must have the proper ventilation needed for the studio’s gas-fired kilns.

The current space has a classroom with 17 potters wheels, as well as a showroom and retail area. They recently had one deal fall through and are working to find a new space by the time their existing lease is up near the end of this year, Weber said.

Finding a new retail space for lease

Hinckley Pottery is working with Miller Walker Retail Real Estate in the search, a relationship that came about thanks to one of their longtime students, Clyde’s Restaurant Group president Tom Meyer, who throws at the studio. (Meyer mentioned his love of pottery in this 2012 WBJ profile.)

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. They’re casting a wide net, and have looked at spaces as wide-ranging as the Hecht Warehouse project in Northeast D.C. to Cady’s Alley in Georgetown.

The need to relocate doesn’t come as a complete surprise to Weber; after all, they had to move Hinckley Pottery from Foggy Bottom to Adams Morgan 25 years ago when that neighborhood started to take off.

“Our history has been that we’ve moved to places sort of on the edge, and then they stop being on the edge and it makes it hard for us to stay there,” Weber said. “When we moved into Adams Morgan, our old landlord didn’t even want to give us a mailbox because he was afraid people would vandalize it.”

The studio serves about 200 students per week at approximately 16 classes. Students come from some of D.C.’s biggest law firms, companies and even the World Bank, said Weber. The studio has had students from six of the world’s seven continents, she added.

 

Georgetown Park DC MILLER WALKER Retail space for leaseGeorgetown Park

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. The aim is to increase dining options for the neighborhood.

The retail center holds 315,028 SF of retail space. Although it is improving it has seen its share of struggles. Vornado and its acquisition partner, Angelo Gordon, plan to continue to turn things around for the better.

The two picked up the retail center in 2010 a foreclosure auction for $61 million and then went on to invest $80 million in a renovation that transformed it from an inward-facing enclosed mall into a collection of retail spaces with dedicated frontage on both M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. These efforts brought on such national tenants as TJ Maxx/HomeGoods and DSW, as well as a Washington Sports Club.

Bill Miller and Alex Walker of Miller Walker will lead the leasing efforts on the available spaces, which range in size from 800 square feet to 10,000 square feet.

“…Our goal is to bring in some artisanal dining options and to be good stewards of this iconic asset,” said Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown.

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Georgetown Park Restaurants Space for lease miller walkerGeorgetown Park Needs Restaurants

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. All culminating with the opening of Forever21 earlier this month.

So what’s missing? Georgetown Park Restaurants.

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.

The shopping center’s new owner, Jamestown, which bought the project from Vornado in 2014 for $272 million, wants to add to the development’s appeal by making it a dining destination as well as a retail one.

The available space includes 10,058 square feet on the second level with access from M Street NW. Longtime Georgetown shoppers will remember that space as the former Houlihan’s in the old Georgetown Park Mall.

Another 9,462-square-foot space sits on the back of Georgetown Park overlooking the C&O Canal, with access from the end of the alley between the entrance to DSW and the Dean & Deluca building. For frame of reference, this restaurant would be similarly situated to the upstairs private event space at Pinstripes, the restaurant and bowling and bocce venue on the back of Georgetown Park.

A third space sized at a little more than 7,408 square feet is also available and being marketed for restaurant or retail. The majority of the space is on the canal level, with access from Wisconsin Avenue via a stairway. (Perhaps a perfect place to light the blue light for a nouveau speakeasy down below?)

The developer is looking for tenants that could take each of the spaces in their entirety. Mainly because their tucked-away locations and configurations aren’t likely to split well. Jamestown hopes to lure interesting restaurant tenants that will make the shopping center a place for lunch or dinner as well.

“Our goal is to bring in some artisanal dining options and to be good stewards of this iconic asset,” Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, said in a statement.

Ruth Veloce Pizzeria Paradiso restaurant space for leaseVeloce by Pizzeria Paradiso

After 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. This is 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.

The personal pizzas will cook in approximately two minutes in gas-powered ovens, as opposed to Paradiso’s wood-fired variety. Unlike its many counterparts in fast-casual pizza, however, the 1,400-square-foot restaurant will shun the Chipotle-style assembly line in favor of efficiency.

At Veloce by Pizzeria Paradiso, customers will be able to choose from several “house pizzas” or create their own. They’ll do so in one stop at the ordering station to get the pizza in the oven quicker, Gresser said. Despite the all the buzz around food customization in today’s fast-casual landscape, it’s really nothing new in the world of pizza, she added.

The menu will smack of Paradiso, but not overlap. There will be a Bosco, for instance, but it will have roasted mushrooms and a white pizza. Similar to the Quattro Formaggi. There won’t be beer, given that Veloce will operate mainly as a carryout and lunch spot. The restaurant has 30 seats, include those planned for an outside patio.

For Gresser, the food was the easy part.

“I always knew I could do the food … that’s not been the key piece of figuring out this new puzzle,” she said. “The bigger question is how to service the number of people that we hope will choose to come in the time period that they have available to do it.

There are things to consider. For instance, how to package the pizza, how to keep it hot for carryout orders and whether to do online ordering through an app.

“There’s this whole other segment that needs to be created and developed and put in place,” she said. “We’re excited to change it up a little bit and do something a little new. It’s been fun, this challenge of conceiving something and then making it a reality.”

Though she began thinking of doing a fast-casual almost six years ago, the chef said she held off because of other projects. She has been methodical about expansion, opening three restaurants — and writing one cookbook — since opening the first Paradiso in 1991.

Which is why she’s not saying yet whether Veloce will one day be ” the Chipotle of pizza.

“At that rate, it’s going to take me a very long time before it could be the first of many,” she said. “We’ll see what happens, but I do think it would lend itself to that, potentially.

WBJ

Big restaurant players and retail experts converse about sustainable food and a sustainable business modelSustainable food and a sustainable business model

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

“Local and sustainable means more than buying from a farmer who drives his tractor down the street… Sustainability means your restaurant is around tomorrow—around a generation from tomorrow.” – Dan Simons, Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group

“It’s important to buy from local distillers, wineries, and brewers. It’s an easy sell because guests want to try what’s local and the price point’s a lot lower too.” – Dave Delaplaine

“Restaurants should empower staff by taking them to farms and distilleries to build their knowledge of the production process and a better food culture. – Saul Mutchnick

“Local is good, but local doesn’t equal good. We need to put forth good products and demand excellence of one another. Local’s just going to be a trend or buzzword if we’re not making good products” – Brandon Skall

“Restaurants are way more relevant in shaping neighborhoods today. Thus, landlords are willing to get more creative with deal structures.” – David Dochter, Cushman & Wakefield

“This is the scariest and most exciting time in DC. We’re under the microscope and people are looking at DC differently. We’re now a food town which means we have to be better.” – Bill Miller

“The art of competition is that it’s the mother of creativity. People have to think of different ways to do business today, they have to create relationships. There’s a lot more camaraderie, but not because people started loving each other, they see it as necessary for success.” – Andy Shallal

“We love having new business come onto H Street. We don’t see it as competition with each other; we see it as competition with other neighborhoods.” – Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s

“People are calling H Street the new 14th Street, but it’s not as animated or walkable. New places are being asked to pay rents reflective of where the neighborhood will be in five years when Whole Foods comes in.” – Bill Miller

Bisnow

Bill Miller speaking on the relationship between landlords and restaurant owners at Bisnow's  4th annual DC Restaurant Development SummitBarack 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.

Busboys and Poets founder (and one time DC mayoral candidate) Andy Shallal has seen it all go down. As a locally grown restaurant concept, he says Busboys has sometimes been used as a pawn by landlords to attract bigger, national credit tenants. “Some landlords get it, and some try to hook you in, and then squeeze the hell out of you,” says Andy, who adds that local concepts may not have the balance sheet of larger, national tenants, but contribute more to a community. So forging relationships with open-minded landlords is crucial in the growth of startup local concepts, and as a result, the growth of the emerging neighborhoods, he says.

That camaraderie should exist between business owners, too, says DC Brau CEO Brandon Skall (with Vucuverich Simons Advisory Group’s Dan Simons). He says local restaurateurs, brewers, chefs, and retail owners need to demand excellence from each other to sustain the scene. Creating products and concepts that aren’t just locally born, but of high quality, is key. “Local is good, but local doesn’t equal good,” says Brandon, who with co-founder Jeff Hancock delivered DC’s first brewery since the ’50s in 2009.

Landlords, for their part, are maturing, says Cushman & Wakefield’s David Dochter. Many, even on the institutional side, are beginning to appreciate locally grown retailers and restaurateurs, since bringing them in can help create an identity for assets and the neighborhood. Owners who simply go for the most well-known tenant who can afford to pay the highest rent may lose out on special opportunities. Dave also says he’s eagerly watching the Union Market/Florida Ave NE submarket as a future retail hotspot.

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. And if neighboring landlords get wind of big rent numbers achieved by spots next door, it may stunt the market, so signing smart, sustainable deals will benefit everyone, he adds.

Big thanks to the folks from The Hamilton Live for turning what’s usually a hoppin’ concert venue into an equally as hoppin’ Bisnow venue. After the panels, guests were treated to an array of sliders and sushi as well as beer from DC Brau, great wines, and a bourbon-laced signature cocktail created specially for the event.

Taking a break from the schmoozin’: Rappaport’s Bill Dickinson and Jason Yanushonis with Thur & Associates’ Shary Thur and Combined Properties’ Susan Kirn. Stay tuned for more Summit coverage tomorrow.

Bisnow

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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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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