Del Frisco’s signing on for CityCenter DC


Cranes along the construction site of CityCenter DC. (Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)

CityCenter DC developer Hines is finalizing a lease with Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House for a high-end, 17,000-square-foot restaurant at the downtown D.C. project.

“It’s just simply a matter of concluding the negotiations and getting it signed,” said Bill Martens, vice president of development at the Dallas-based restaurant group. “Our interest is in having it wrapped up in the next couple of weeks.”

Del Frisco’s will become the first retail tenant locked in at the $950 million development. The selection of the steakhouse, with nine locations in such cities as New York and Las Vegas, may provide a window into how developers plan to position the project.

At the International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas last week, Hines Vice President Howard Riker outlined plans for a food pavilion to complement a selection of attention-getting clothing stores. He said the firm has identified 11 specialty vendors for the 10,000 square-foot pavilion. He also said the company has had discussions with Japanese retailer Uniqlo and British apparel chain Top Shop.

Riker acknowledged that there are several signed letters of intent, but he declined to disclose any names.

Hines has kept information about the project close to the vest, though the Houston-based firm confirmed that law firm Covington & Burling signed a letter of intent to relocate to CityCenter. On Del Frisco, the company declined to comment.

The shroud of mystery surrounding the merchant lineup at the city’s largest project under way has spurred endless speculation. Everyone from Apple to Eataly has been linked to the development, keeping CityCenter a hot topic of discussion.

Hines, in partnership with Colorado developer Archstone, is constructing six buildings and a public plaza on the grounds of the former convention center. The 10-acre project will feature 185,000 square feet of retail, 458 apartments, 216 condominiums, 520,000 square feet of office space and 1,570 underground parking slots.

In the 13 months since shovels hit the dirt at CityCenter, builders have put down several structures that are now six stories above grade.

Construction is about a month ahead of schedule, with the first phase of development scheduled for completion in July 2013.

If Del Frisco’s finalizes the CityCenter deal, it would give the restaurateur a second establishment in the District. The chain is opening Del Frisco’s Grille in the former Les Halles space at 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in July. It is a more casual, less expensive concept than the steakhouse.

Danielle Douglas covers the banking industry for The Washington Post.
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