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KittyDuran
01-20-2006, 04:50 PM
Westin nets high-profile eatery downtown
Lisa Biank Fasig
Courier Staff Writer

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, a chain of 59 upscale eateries known for massive menus of fresh fish dishes, has agreed to open its first area location at the Westin Hotel downtown.

The roughly $2.5 million, 8,000-square-foot restaurant is expected to open by October.

The commitment, reached after more than 18 months of negotiations, represents the first national restaurant commitment since Palomino agreed to come to Cincinnati in 1999, downtown officials said. And it is a vote of confidence none too late, as developers vie to attract entertainment and restaurant tenants to the redeveloping Fountain Square as well as to Carew Tower.

"When you get a major restaurant or retailer with a well-respected name like McCormick & Schmick's, that sends a signal to other business that this is a market that they should be looking at," said David Ginsburg, president of Downtown Cincinnati Inc.

McCormick & Schmick's, based in Portland, Ore., operates in 24 states and will enter Columbus by March. The Cincinnati restaurant, expected to open by October, will seat 280 people and employ as many as 100.

"Cincinnati's business market is strong and we believe in the long-term will only get stronger," said Saed Mohseni, CEO of the Portland, Ore.-based chain. "In the meantime, it certainly has what we look for."

Among what the company looks for are lunch crowds, hotel occupancies, performing arts and conventions, he said. Thirty of McCormick & Schmick's 59 restaurants are based in downtown settings, Mohseni said. The average per-person tab runs $45 for dinner and $22 for lunch, including drinks and tax.

The restaurant will occupy the corner of Fifth and Vine street, plus take over a 2,700-square-foot banquet room and a kitchen on the hotel's second floor.

The Westin's Fifth & Vine Street Bar will close. Its three retailers -- M. Hopple & Co., the Cincinnati Reds Dugout and Buten Eyewear -- will remain but be reconfigured. Construction will begin in March.

"They see what's going on in downtown America, that there's a renewed interest in dining downtown," Wayne Bodington, Westin's general manager, said of McCormick & Schmick's. "I think it will cause other retailers and restaurants to have a look at downtown Cincinnati."

While McCormick did not seek any local or state incentives, it did receive what is called a tenant improvement allowance from its landlord. Mohseni declined to disclose that allowance, but said it typically runs from $100 to $125 per square foot.

The extent to which McCormick attracts other tenants won't likely be witnessed for a few months. Fountain Square, whose $42 million redevelopment is being directed by Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), will be complete by late summer. Tenants for a new pavilion building to be built there won't likely be announced until the spring, said Stephen Leeper, executive director of 3CDC.

"The good news is we've got interest from several potential operators on the pavilion building," he said. "All local."



2006 American City Business Journals Inc.

KronoRed
01-20-2006, 10:50 PM
BOOOOO.

How come they didn't ask us about this? ;)

George Foster
01-20-2006, 10:55 PM
I ate at one of their chains in Washington DC it was great. It will do big business in Cincinnati!!

cincinnati chili
01-20-2006, 11:42 PM
There are a couple in Boston. One of them had $1.99 burger/fries on Sox game days a couple years back.