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CHICAGO-Kona Grill is looking for locations to increase its presence in the Chicago market, for as many as three new sites in the next two to three years for a total of about 27,000 sf. Kona, based in Scottsdale, AZ, has two existing locations in the Chicago suburbs of Oak Brook and Lincolnshire, both of which opened in 2006. The company will be aided in its expansion by Shannon Hormanski, associate director with Cushman & Wakefield’s Retail Services Group, which will assist in site selection and lease negotiations.

“The demographics that they’re looking for are here, from a population and household income standpoint, as well as the density of the market,” Hormanski tells GlobeSt.com. “The Midwest has proven to be a strong market for them and they seem to be successful here. They’ve seen what they can do out here and they’re looking to grow that.”

Kona has 18 restaurants operating across the country, with another six locations in development, not including those planned in the Chicago area. The restaurants are typically around 7,000 sf each, with a 2,000-sf patio, which can be enclosed for harsh weather. The company is open to looking at new construction or existing buildings in its search, Hormanski says. The restaurant is aiming for at least two new locations to open in Downtown Chicago and the Near North suburbs by 2010, she says.

“A location downtown can be considered a marketing tactic for them and gets the word out to people who work here or come down here for pleasure. It makes them a bigger player and gets them more recognition in the marketplace,” Hormanski says. “The near north suburbs are ideal because it’s not as saturated of a market as other locations.”

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