October 29, 2013

Developers announce newest restaurants for Towson Square complex

The two developers of Towson Square, the entertainment complex that kicked off a revitalization of downtown Towson, announced Thursday the next set of restaurants going into the $85 million project.

Bonefish Grill, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Hanabi Japanese Restaurant and the Bobby Flay-inspired Bobby's Burger Palace, are the four newest future tenants of Towson Square, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said during the Oct. 10 news conference.

Blake Cordish, vice president of Cordish Co., one of the two development firms building the complex, said both the developers' $85 million investment along with the commitments from a set of top restaurants "is a tremendous vote of confidence" for Towson.

"To have this collection of sophisticated companies say that they believe … in the future of our community and downtown Towson, to me, is incredibly exciting," Cordish said.

Thursday's ceremony was held to celebrate the "topping off" of the cinema and parking garage structure, on which construction began earlier this year. The complex will be anchored by a 15-screen Cinemark movie theater with 3,400 seats and a 200-seat VIP area. An 850-space planned parking garage is to be operated by the Baltimore County Revenue Authority.

Kamenetz called Bonefish Grill a "county favorite," but noted that the three other restaurants are new to the county. Bobby's Burger Palace, which is inspired by the travels of Food Network celebrity chef Bobby Flay, has locations at Maryland Live! at Arundel Mills and another in College Park.

Hanabi Japanese Restaurant, which is new to the Baltimore region, was billed during the announcement as a traditional Japanese steakhouse with meals prepared on a hibachi grill.

Cordish said BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, which started in California when two friends decided to share their deep-dish pizza recipe with the masses, is also new to the region.

"It is, in our business, one of the most sought-after restaurant operators that you can find," Cordish said. "It's a short list, and this is high on that list."

In January, La Tagliatella, Nando's Peri-Peri and On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina were announced as the first set of restaurant tenants of the development. One more restaurant has yet to be announced, the developers said.

Construction on the project is expected to be finished in around a year at which time the 660 current construction jobs will give way to 870 permanent jobs at the theater and restaurants.

"We feel like, while it’s taken us eight years to get here, we're going to have a little bit of an impact on the county seat," Mike Batza, chairman and CEO of co-developer Heritage Properties, said. "I think we've created a best-in-class opportunity, and downtown Towson will be energized at night."

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