A need to speed up the opening of the Farish Street Entertainment District led Watkins Development to decide to do its own buildout of the clubs, restaurants and shops along the initial block of the long-planned project.
The new plan would allow the interior work and customizing of the spaces for tenants to begin right away rather than waiting for tenants to obtain financing to pay for the buildouts, said David Watkins, president & CEO of Watkins Development. The half dozen 15-year leases already signed, including ones for the B.B. King’s Blues Club, Zac Harmon’s Subway Lounge and Wet Willie’s frozen drink bar, will have to be renegotiated upward to reflect the buildout costs, Watkins said.
The recently signed tenants and prospective ones are pleased with the new lease arrangement, he said, noting it lets them avoid the upfront costs of the buildouts.