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NEW YORK CITY-Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is launching an upscale hamburger chain called Bobby’s Burger Palace, his business partner revealed here at the International Council of Shopping Centers New York National Conference. So far Flay has signed three deals and has plans for five more units in the pipeline, said partner Lawrence Kretchmer,

Flay, who also owns Mesa Grill restaurants here, in Las Vegas and the Bahamas, is planning five to 10 new Burger Palaces a year. Kretchmer did not give specific locations where the three leases have been signed so far, but said that there is one under development in New Jersey and another will go into a Long Island mall.

Architecture firm Rockwell Group is designing the stores, which are planned for spaces between 3,500 sf and 4,000 sf. Kretchmer said that Flay “will create its own market the same way Starbucks did with coffee,” in the burger arena.

Flay’s concept was not the only rollout revealed at the conference. Greensboro, NC-based grocer the Fresh Market, which operates 76 stores on the East Coast, is looking to open 15 to 20 supermarkets per year in densely-populated markets east of the Mississippi.

Shoe retailer DSW Inc., the operator of 254 units, is upping its plans next year, forecasting 40 store openings, up from the 37 in the works this year. That Columbus, OH-based chain is focusing on the West Coast, where it intends to build up its presence.

Meanwhile, Darden Restaurants has big plans for one of its long-time chains, the 650-restaurant Red Lobster chain. The company has a three-year plan to revitalize the concept is will roll out a new prototype concept, said Stephen Andrews, the firm’s senior director of real estate. “It’s on the verge of an incredible breakthrough,” he said.

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