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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-BJ’s Restaurants Inc. is expanding its BJ Brewhouse concept in the Valley. The Huntington Beach, CA-based restaurateur has inked leases for its second and third locations.

“The Phoenix area is one of BJ’s key markets,” says Tom Woods, a senior vice president with Colliers International, who the restaurateur’s broker in the Valley. “They like the housing growth that is occurring. It’s nice to have customers.”

Woods tells GlobeSt.com that BJ’s Restaurants wants to be located near major retail trade areas such as malls or power centers. “They need the retail traffic to drive traffic to their locations,” he says. Currently, BJ’s Restaurants has one Valley location, the Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler.

The chain has ground leased a pad site near Desert Ridge Market Place, a 1.2-million-sf, mixed-use center under development by Phoenix-based Vestar Development Inc. at the intersection of Loop 101 and Tatum Road. Woods says the area is populated with a lot of restaurants such as Mimi’s Cafe and Bahama Breeze.

BJ’s Restaurant signed a ground lease for 20 years for a one-acre site across from Bahama Breeze. Ground will break on an 8,000-sf restaurant early next year.

In the second transaction, BJ’s Restaurants committed to a long-term lease for a 7,089-sf build-to-suit at the southwest corner of US Highway 60 and Power Road in Mesa. BV Development of Scottsdale will position the building between two of its other developments, Krispy Kreme and PF Chang’s China Bistro. Again, an early 2005 groundbreaking is penciled on the calendar.

Both BJ Brewhouse restaurants will open mid-2005, Woods says. In the meantime, BJ’s Restaurants is planning more Phoenix locations. “There are a couple more in the works,” Woods says. Currently, BJ Restaurants has 35 locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas.

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