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DALLAS-In closely guarded talks, the Crescent team has worked out a 10-year lease with an internationally acclaimed restaurateur to backfill one of the few openings in its Uptown trophy. Coming in mid-November will be Bice Ristorante.

The contemporary Italian restaurant will be set up in a 6,590-sf spot in the 1.3-million-sf Crescent’s 100 Building, getting doorsteps on both McKinney and Maple avenues and creating gateways from two outdoor patios to the high-end restaurant and bar. Bice is “a perfect complement” to the existing restaurant line-up, says Tony Click, vice president of leasing for Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. “It’s something that will last a long time.”

The space went dark about six months ago after a succession of four restaurateurs tried their hands at staking a claim in the Uptown market. Click tells GlobeSt.com that talks were under way with another high-end backfill when the Ruggeri family came to town to add Dallas to a menu board that includes six locations in the US and 14 in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. “This was by far the one that was the best,” he says of the options under consideration for the coveted space. The complex’s fully leased retail space is quoted at $28 per sf, triple net.

Click says the Ruggeris will open a Bice’s in Houston about a month before doors swing open at the Crescent. The New York City-based restaurateur is making over the former Polo Shop beside the Saks’ entrance in the Galleria. So far this year, Bice and Bice Grand Cafe locations have opened in Delray Beach, FL and Orlando with others planned for North Miami and Naples, FL. Talks also are under way for space in the Florida hotspots of South Beach and Sarasota plus Memphis and Las Vegas–all planned openings for 2006.

Bice’s was founded in 1926 in Milan by Beatrice Ruggeri, who has sons Remo and Roberto and grandson Raffaele at the helm of the Bice Group, which was represented in the Dallas talks by Earl Latimer of local firm, the Monitor Group, and Richard Leong with Butler Kane Inc. in New York City. Click and Jack Gosnell with Dallas-based United Commercial Realty/ChainLinks negotiated for the trophy’s joint venture owners, Crescent TC Investors LP.

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