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PORTLAND, OR-Concept Entertainment Group has signed a long-term lease for the 15,000-sf former Banana Joe’s location in Old Town from Naito Corporation. The local operator of restaurants, bars and nightclubs intends to open a restaurant, bar and nightclub this summer that will have an island theme similar to that of its most recent tenant, Banana Joe’s.

Concept Entertainment Group already operates the Lotus Cardroom and Café, Bar 71, Gypsy Restaurant and Lounge, Duke’s Bar and Grill, Lucky’s Bar and Grill and the underage dance club Quest. Quest and Bar 71 are both within a few blocks of the company’s new leasehold. CEG President John Plew tells GlobeSt.com they decided to lease the space to ensure that the largest public assembly space in Old Town is headed in the right direction.

“We’ve been in the area since 1985,” says Plew. “We feel it’s very important to keep the neighborhood viable and moving forward.”

The name and specific interior design is in the hands of a creative team and will be for another few weeks, says Plew. The space includes 9,800 sf on the ground floor and 4,800 sf on a mezzanine level. Plew says the restaurant and bar will occupy about 4,000 sf and the night club will occupy the remaining space. Plew says only cosmetic changes will be made to the space, which saw all new tenant improvements before Banana Joe’s moved in.

The lease agreement has an initial eight-year term and two five-year renewal options. Plew described the lease rate for the space as “between $10 and $20″ per sf per year. Local brokers tell GlobeSt.com that given the size of the lease and the Old Town location, the lease rate is probably much closer to the bottom of that range than the top. The deal includes a 10,000-sf basement that will be used for storage.

Looking beyond Old Town, Plew says that when the economy improves, CEG will look to duplicate some of its unique concepts in the surrounding areas, such as Hayden Island, Beaverton, Tualatin and Clackamas. “We’ve been spending a lot of time refining concepts so that when the right time comes we can just slip into new spots,” says Plew. “We’re a local company that is starting to compete with some of the more regional players.”

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