DALLAS-With Preston Commons as the prize, BentleyForbes Group has signed Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano to an 11-year lease as eye candy for its valuable Preston Road frontage. The popular North Dallas restaurateur will open an 8,100-sf signature location by February 2009.

Hams Mumper, senior vice president and co-director of asset management for the Los Angeles-based owner, tells GlobeSt.com that the plan to add the first restaurant to the 418,604-sf class A office complex has been in the works about one year. Nicola’s was the only non-national restaurateur to make the short list, according to Mumper. Nicola’s was a 10-year tenant in the Galleria before moving to the Shops at Legacy in Plano.

Mumper credits BentleyForbes founder and chairman, C. Frederick Wehba, with the idea to take part of the valued office space and use it for retail. JPMorgan Chase’s 50,000-sf renewal at yearend 2007 had freed up 8,100 sf on the first floor when it downsized its bank space to 17,300 sf in the 122,500-sf building at 8111 Preston Rd. Earl Latimer of the Monitor Group in Dallas was Nicola’s broker.

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