April 25. 2012 9:00AM

Tazinos to open restaurants downtown and in Germantown

  
St. Francis-based Tazinos Inc. plans to open Tazinos Pizza & Salad Bistro restaurants in downtown Milwaukee and in Germantown.

The downtown location will be along the Riverwalk in a 4,000-square-foot space underneath the Gold's Gym in the City Center at 735 complex.

The City Center at 735 is the brand name for the combined 735 N. Water St. and 731 N. Water St. buildings in downtown Milwaukee. Tazinos will occupy space in the ground floor of the 731 N. Water St. building.

The owner of the complex, Compass Properties, turned down other non-restaurant tenants that express interest in the space, said vice president Sheldon Oppermann.

"We've been holding out to do a restaurant," to provide an additional amenity in the complex for tenants, Oppermann said.

The restaurant will have some outdoor seating on the Riverwalk.

Tazinos will fill a void in the middle of downtown for low priced pizza and salads, Oppermann said. The area is dominated by higher priced restaurants and sandwich places.

"Where do you go for lunch when you've already been to Jimmy John's two days this week?" Oppermann said. "Where's pizza? (Tazino's) is really fast and it's really good."

The downtown Tazino's is expected to open in July. The Germantown location is expected to open late this year. The chain's other locations are in Menomonee Falls, Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie.

Meanwhile, Companss continues to increase the occupancy rate at City Center at 735, Oppermann said. A law firm and a trade association are considering the complex, and would lease a combined 4,000 square feet of space. If they sign leases that would bring City Center's occupancy rate up to 89 percent, Oppermann said. The complex has a total of 40,000 square feet of space available, he said.

Compass would like to connect City Center at 735 to the downtown skywalk system, but would have to do so through the 100 East building and inquiries with Newton, Mass.-based CommonWealth REIT, the owner of the 100 East building, have gone nowhere.

"They have not been responsive," Oppermann said. "They haven't said 'no' but they haven't said 'yes.' We continue to be willing and able to talk to them. I think they're just busy. We think it would be good for them. We think it would be good for the block."

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