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PHOENIX-Phoenix, which has been struggling for years to live up to its namesake and spark a downtown rejuvenation, has received a seal of approval from one of the world’s most recognized restaurant and bar operators.

Hard Rock Cafe has signed a lease to open a restaurant in the Collier Center, a 512,000-sf office and retail center in the heart of downtown. “For 30 years Hard Rock Cafe has set the bar for an unmatched music and dining experience,” says Pete Beaudrault, president and CEO, Hard Rock Cafe International. “This new setting will offer Phoenix residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the one-of-a-kind environment of the Hard Rock Cafe in a great part of town.” Hard Rock Cafe has considered closing its other Valley location at 24th Street and Camelback Road in the Esplanade, but is now expected to keep the location.

The developers of the Collier Center, Phoenix-based Opus West Corp. and the Florida-based Barron Collier Co., finalized the 8,200-sf lease. It’s the usual fare of a restaurant, bar and retail store offering with items sporting the Hard Rock Phoenix logo. The restaurant, which will be on the street level at the corner of Jefferson and Second streets, is scheduled to open in spring 2002. The restaurant will be on the south side of the Collier Center and within blocks of the Bank One Ballpark, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The eatery will face America West Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns and, for now, the Phoenix Coyotes.

In all, the Collier Center spans 2 1/2 blocks between Washington, Jefferson, First and Third streets. Phase I has a 512,000-sf class A office tower; 90,000-sf, two-story restaurant and retail complex; and 1,500-space, below-grade parking garage. The final element of phase I will be a major convention hotel. Bank of America anchors the high-rise. The second and third phases will include two 500,000-sf office towers, another 100,000 sf of retail space and a second below-grade parking garage.

“With each new tenant, Collier Center evolves further into a true destination point for downtown Phoenix,” says Thomas W. Roberts, Opus West president. Already signed are are Kincaid’s fish, chop and steakhouse, Rubio’s Baja Grill, Hazelwoods, Kinko’s, Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Planet Wireless, Steak Escape and Ticket Exchange.

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