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Buyer buoyant on City Place

- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2007

A developer has purchased Silver Spring's City Place Mall with plans to renovate it.

Petrie Ross Ventures LLC didn't disclose what it paid for the mall, which has recently struggled to attract the shoppers patronizing retail projects just across the street and down the block.

The 348,000-square-foot mall at 8661 Colesville Road is anchored by Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory. It has 55 other tenants, including Foot Locker, Nine West and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The 15-year-old shopping center underwent a $4 million makeover in 2004 but hasn't been able to keep up with renovations in the surrounding area, which now boasts a new cinema, Starbucks, restaurants and shops.

The Annapolis developer, which co-developed Annapolis Towne Center at Parole, said it is eager to renovate the mall.

"We have an exciting merchandising plan to create a prime destination for shoppers as well as current and future retailers," said Petrie Ross Ventures Chairman Walter H. Petrie.

The developer declined to reveal any other specifics.

ZPizza expands

ZPizza, a gourmet pizza chain from Newport Beach, Calif., is continuing its expansion in the Northern Virginia area with new local franchisees.

Jose Gomez and Michael Borostovik intend to build three locations in Northern Virginia, according to FranSmart, the Alexandria firm helping to franchise the chain. Thirty-seven other locations are under development in the state. Thirteen locations are already up and running in Maryland and Virginia.

"Virginia has the second-largest collection of ZPizza stores in the country, and it continues to grow because of the concept"s popularity," Mr. Gomez said.

Mr. Borostovik said the business partners have purchased franchise rights for the Virginia towns of Bristow, Warrenton and Culpeper, with plans to open the first restaurant in Bristow by March.

"Pizza is very popular in the Northern Virginia area, but ZPizza has a little different concept," Mr. Borostovik said. "Their pizza is healthier. They use a premium dough and low-fat cheese, and they also have a large selection of toppings."

In other retail news ...

c Agraria, the farmer-led restaurant in Georgetown, plans to open a second location next year in the International Monetary Fund headquarters building on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.

c Tomorrow is National Don't Step on a Bee Day — and don't laugh, it's a serious matter at Buzz Bakery, where many sweets rely on honey.

The new Alexandria bakery is giving away honey cups — miniature vanilla cupcakes topped with house-made honey frosting — to raise public awareness of the day and encourage donations to combat colony collapse disorder.

The disorder has prompted an increase in the number of dying bee colonies in the Eastern United States, a serious problem that Buzz says could have big implications for the U.S. food supply if it goes unchecked.

c Safeway Inc., the second-largest local grocery chain behind Giant Food, has opened a stand-alone restaurant in California, where the company is based. It is testing the concept eatery, called Citrine, as more grocery sales are generated in precooked products. The company is mum on whether the concept will spread.

c Contact Jen Haberkorn at jhaberkorn@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-4836.