According to a South Florida Business Journal report, Yard House, the popular hops happy chain, has signed a deal to build, from the ground up, a nearly 12,000-square-foot restaurant at 1681 Lenox Ave. in Miami Beach--very near the similar sounding but not to be confused with Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. The freestanding building, just off Lincoln Road, is expected to open about mid-2013. Koniver Stern Group’s Kerry Newman who represented landlord Claude Chandonnet, president of Marx Realty, said the deal took a year to get done.“It’s a very, very hard market to penetrate for a national restaurant because of the lack of opportunity and high cost,” Newman said. Chandonnet, who worked with Robert Wennett to develop 1111 Lincoln Road, said the project the project has a $3 million price tag. The front will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and outside will be a fountain that can be seen from Lincoln Road, as well as a 1,000-square-foot patio.
Jeff Uttz, executive VP and CFO of the Irvine, Calif.-based restaurant chain, said the company is “bullish” on South Florida.“We are excited about it and think that, with the existing mix of restaurants, we will blend in well,” he said. Newman thinks it'll help bring the neighborhood, rather than the other way around. "The quality, high standards and discipline will make the other restaurants take notice and sharpen their game,” he said. Yard House continues its expansion with a location opening in June in Boca's Mizner Park. [South Florida Business Journal]