Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

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THE WHARF 136 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 The Wharf sits along approximately one mile of waterfront, and the develop- ment partners will activate over 50 acres of water in the Channel, as well. Madison Marquette and P.N. Hoffman intend to open the first phase of the project, now under construction, in October 2017. The Hoffman-Madison Waterfront partnership has focused its efforts on creating a top destination for both resi- dential and commercial residents, as well as tourists. Just as the food scene has flour- ished across the Mid-Atlantic region (see related article on Washington, D.C.'s restaurant boom on page 330), The Wharf will be home to a dynamic group of new concept restaurants — adding to the historic Fish Market that has been lo- cated at the site for more than 200 years. "Our merchandising strategy is to bring to The Wharf best-in-class local and re- gional food operators who have proven concepts and strong followings," says Tom Gilmore, senior managing director of Madison Marquette and president of its real estate services group. "These op- erators are taking advantage of the robust market and growth opportunities in the greater DC market. Each is creating a new concept that will be unique only to The Wharf." Chefs who have signed on at The Wharf include Fabio Trabocchi, chef and owner of Fiola, Casa Luca and Fiola Mare, and "Top Chef" competitor Mike Isabella, who has opened Kapnos Kouzina, Graffia- to, Pipita, and a number of other highly ac- claimed restaurants. Star mixologist Todd Thrasher, of Bar PX and Restaurant Eve in neighboring Alexandria, Virginia, will also add to the culinary and cocktail scene with the Potomac Distilling Company, a commercial rum distillery and two-story tavern adjacent to the Fish Market. "Currently, we do not have any nation- al food chains in the mix," says Gilmore. "We are not averse to bringing in the right ones, but we are trying to establish a dis- tinct restaurant offering that is unique to the market and the project." A market hall concept is in develop- ment for The Wharf and is envisioned as part grocery and part dining. During the original design phases, Gilmore says that the developers and designers "choreo- graphed" every space at the project where food would play a role. Then, along with the leasing team, the developers looked at what existed in the market and what should exist at The Wharf. "Food has become such a critical an- chor and key driver for projects today," says Gilmore. "In a project like this with a significant vertical component includ- ing residential, office and hospitality, as well as a large live-entertainment venue, a thoughtful culinary mix is essential to the project's long-term success. We looked at many of the operators in the market, and asked some of them to consider creating a more casual version of their more formal dining concepts. For some of the smaller operators, we asked them to explore more expanded or updated versions of their ex- isting concepts. 'Curation' is a well-worn phrase these days in our business, but it does best describe our approach. We've been very careful in curating the food experience so that we cover a number of categories and do not replicate what is already in the market." The strategy for retail throughout the neighborhood is similar. There will be some recreation-related retail focused on the active lifestyle of the area's residents. Hoffman-Madison has been working with many local, well established retail- ers to locate at The Wharf. The company hasn't released any of the retailers it has signed, and won't until closer to opening. "We want a mix of smaller yet estab- lished brands who have strong followings through both a limited number of brick- and-mortar stores and online presence," says Gilmore. "There is a great universe The Wharf will combine new with old to create a unique environment. The Wharf will have 950,000 square feet of offce space, more than 1,300 multifamily units, three hotels and retail, restaurant and entertainment space.

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