The Land Use Control Board unanimously approved Thursday, April 12 a planned development to add two upscale freestanding restaurants to the Crescent Center office building site at Poplar and Ridgeway.
“It went very well, there was no opposition, and we are trying to schedule our City Council meeting now – it’s going to be either May 1 or May 15,” said Steve Guinn, vice president of Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties Inc.
Those build-to-suit restaurants will be an 8,946-square-foot The Capital Grille in front of the Crescent Center’s attached garage along Poplar to the west and a 9,231-square-foot Season 52 at the corner of Poplar and Ridgeway. Both restaurants are new to the Memphis market.
Seasons 52 currently operates 22 locations in 13 states. Menus change four times a year, and none of the dishes exceed 475 calories. The new restaurant will create approximately 100 new jobs in the area.
“We are excited to bring Seasons 52 to Memphis,” Seasons 52 president Stephen Judge said in a release. “It is an ideal setting for our guests – people who celebrate living well while enjoying upscale dining, shopping and entertainment.”
Highwoods acquired the 337,916-square-foot Crescent Center for $52.6 million from an affiliate of Behringer Harvard in July 2010, marking the biggest local commercial real estate deal in the past six years.
The staff report for the development states, “without question, a successful restaurant will attract customers from beyond the immediate vicinity.”
Guinn said both restaurants will be open outside of office hours, a concept that’s proven to be in much demand in the Poplar/240 corridor.
“In fact, that’s probably when most of their business will be done,” he said. “A few tenants and a few of our customers had mentioned (a concept) like that to us, but it was pretty much driven by demand for additional high-quality restaurants in that area.”
Upscale restaurants in the immediate area include River Oaks Grill at Poplar and Interstate 240, Amerigo Italian Restaurant in Park Place Center, Circa by John Bragg and Ruth Chris’ Steak House in Regalia shopping center, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Poplar not quite to Massey heading east.
Crescent Center is operating at approximately 90 percent of total occupancy. The construction of The Capital Grille will result in the loss of parking spaces, but at that level of building occupancy, there are some 500 spaces in the three-level parking deck that are not used.