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Spring Tracking: Checking in on the Delayed Projects

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Plenty of restaurants have opened successfully in the first two months of 2009, but several big-name projects that were originally thought to be open by now have been delayed. Since the Business Times ran a handy round-up of some restaurants that have been put on hold, we thought it a good time to review the high-profile projects. Some (i.e., Michael Mina's RN74) have charged through and stayed relatively on track, while other construction sites have remained quiet. So, without further ado, let's check in with a trio of heavyweights that haven't gotten off the ground yet, either by choice or otherwise: Gary Danko's second enterprise, A16/SPQR spinoff Urbino and Russell Jackson's Lafitte :

Urbino: As you may recall, Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren said in One Year In: SPQR that they've chosen to push back the opening of Urbino, just to be safe. Construction hasn't started yet, but there are two key, positive factors: 1) they've still got all their funding, and 2) as the BT article points out, since the developers of Esprit Park are also partners in the restaurant, Urbino "is not paying any rent on the space, which makes the delay affordable." Current ETA: Fall.

Gary Danko's Brasserie: Like the above, construction has not yet begun and the delays are said to be strategic, but the situation (and word choice) is a little different from Urbino: "Part of [the delay] is strategic, said Todd Chapman, a principal with JMA Ventures, which owns Ghirardelli and has been working to bring it back to life. Now that many construction projects have all but stopped, Chapman said he sees an opportunity to go to hungry contractors in search of lower costs." Current ETA: Fall.

Lafitte: While the two aforementioned aren't in a hurry to open, chef/owner/t-shirt monger Russell Jackson is itching to get started, saying he needs $200,000 to start the four-month construction process on Pier 5. He also shares a memorable Darwinian philosophy: "'The reality is this is a great time for restaurateurs,' Jackson said. 'This is a time of attrition when the idiots go out of business and the strong rise You have to be fearless.'" Let's hope that quote doesn't come back to bite him. Current ETA: Summer.
· ‘Hold that order,’ restaurants say [BT]


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