Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chow to Jack London Square: Grazie but No Grazie

By John Birdsall
Wed, Sep 12, 2007 at 4:57 PM

In our August cover story "Back to Square One," we reported that the private developer with big plans for Jack London Square was on the verge of making what they called a "major announcement." Sources told us it might have to do with landing Chow, the Lafayette-based restaurant chain said to be negotiating for space at 66 Franklin. That's the rehabbed warehouse at Jack London that was once home to El Torito and The Old Spaghetti Factory. Jack London Square Partners - which failed to renew those popular family restaurants' leases prior to the renovation - are hoping to use the location to leverage interest in their massive, yet-to-be-built epicurean mall, the nearby Harvest Hall. Well guess what? Apparently, Chow knows which side of the Caldecott its focaccia is buttered on, and it ain't on the 66 Franklin side. Today's Chron reports that Chow owner Tony Gulisano, "who first considered opening at Oakland's Jack London Square, has signed a lease on the old Blockbuster video store space in downtown Danville." That's got to be a major bummer for the developers, who so far have little to show for their efforts at attracting more than passing interest in the bloated Harvest Hall project.

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