Long vacant TGI Friday’s has new tenant

April 7, 2015

THE DES MOINES REGISTER – The vacant TGI Friday’s restaurant in West Des Moines is getting a new tenant.

Hurricane Grill & Wings will open this summer, and developers hope it will spur activity in the sleepy retail center across the street from Valley West Mall.

Franchisee Darin Beck opened Hurricane Grill restaurants in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo within the last 18 months. The Palm Beach, Fla., restaurant chain has 70 locations in 15 states. Most are in Florida and along the East Coast.

The family-friendly restaurants feature chicken wings and a variety of seafood dishes.

Beck operates the Stuffed Olive, Voodoo Lounge and Joker’s bars in downtown Des Moines and restaurants and bars in Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. His Cedar Falls-based company is called Barmuda.

He said the interior of the former TGI Friday’s will be remodeled and the outside of the building will be overhauled. The restrooms are being revamped and the patio will be larger, he said.

He chose the retail center at the intersection of Westown Parkway and Valley West Drive because “the area is underserved” by restaurants, he said.

Ferguson Commercial Real Estate Services in Clive bought the nearly 11-acre property a year ago for $4 million, according to the Polk County Assessor’s website. Last summer, the company removed the trees on the southern edge of the property bordering Interstate Highway 235.

“We were looking to breathe new life into that area and we cut the trees to increase the property’s visibility,” Ferguson vice president Aaron Hyde said.

Bringing in Hurricane Grill & Wings is the first piece of a redevelopment puzzle for the center, which was built in the early 1980s.

Ferguson is looking for new tenants for a vacant 7,200-square-foot former church building and for empty bays in a strip center that is 50 percent occupied right now. Three businesses — Fitness World, Meta Bank and Bank of America — will remain, Hyde said.

New retail and restaurants would be a good fit for the center, Hyde said. The developer could add another building to the property to meet a specific tenant’s needs, he said.

Improvements to the property and the addition of Hurricane Grill should draw new tenants, he said. “There is a great daytime population there. It’s a very busy area.”