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Kona Grill First to Sign Retail Lease at MetWest International

TAMPA, FL - November 10, 2008 - Florida Retail Partners announced today that Kona Grill, Inc. has become the first restaurant to sign a lease at MetWest International, a mixed-use development in the Westshore area. Florida Retail Partners President Kalyn Brandewie negotiated the transaction on behalf of the owner, MetLife.

Kona Grill, Inc. an upscale casual dining restaurant will open a 7,500 square foot restaurant at the main entrance of the retail village at MetWest International which is located across from Tampa International Airport and International Plaza. Kona Grill will open in 2009 coinciding with the completion of the project's retail section.

"Kona Grill is exactly the type of retail tenant we are looking for," said Chuck Davis, regional director of MetLife's Tampa real estate investment office. "It's a new name to the Tampa Bay market with a dining concept sure to appeal to the surrounding business community as well as local residents."

"Opening our doors at MetWest International is an exciting opportunity and a natural fit for Kona Grill. Located near the airport and International Plaza, this is a highly desirable location. Our goal is to provide both office tenants and retail shoppers with a fresh, enjoyable dining experience," said Kona Grill Chief Operating Officer Jason Merritt.

Not only does Kona Grill benefit from a location in the desirable, centrally-located Westshore area, it complements MetWest's appealing mix of amenities. Once completed, MetWest will have a number of pedestrian-accessible amenities and a mix of retail, office, hotel, and residential space that will appeal to a broad group of businesses and individuals. "With Kona Grill and Skanska USA Building, Inc. we are well on our way to attracting the type of notable tenants that set this development apart," according to Davis.

MetLife is redeveloping the 32-acre MetWest International into a mixed-use center. Taylor & Mathis of Florida, Inc. serves as the development manager for the project and handles management and office leasing responsibilities. Florida Retail Partners handles retail leasing.

The transformation of the site is happening in phases, with infrastructure and the first office building slated to open in January of 2009, and the retail village in the first quarter of 2009. The hotel is currently in the design phase, and the two later phase office buildings will be started as demand dictates. When complete, the pedestrian, urban-oriented development will include:

  • Nearly one million square feet of Class A office space
  • 74,200 square foot retail village
  • 260 room full-service upscale hotel
  • 254 residential units

About MetLife

MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. MetLife, through its Real Estate Investments department, oversees one of the largest real estate investment portfolios in the nation. MetLife has an approximately $45 billion real estate investment portfolio, which is well-diversified and consists primarily of real estate equities, commercial mortgages and agricultural mortgages. MetLife is a global leader in real estate investment and real estate asset management, with a vast network of regional offices that keep in close contact with the major real estate markets. MetLife's real estate investment focus includes office, multi-family, industrial and retail properties.

About Florida Retail Partners

Florida Retail Partners handles retail leasing for the project. Founded in Feb, 1997, the company's focus has always been on tenant and landlord representation, sales and leasing on Florida's West Coast and Central Florida. Their unique niche serves landlord properties in need of a turnaround to very upscale projects needing re-tenanting. Additional information on the company can be obtained at

About Kona Grill

Kona Grill (NASDAQ: KONA) is an American grill and sushi bar that has won over 50 awards in many categories including Best Grill, Best Happy Hour, Best Sushi, and more. For over 10 years, the restaurant has prepared fresh food, personalized service, and a warm, contemporary ambiance that creates an exceptional, yet affordable, dining experience. Currently there are 18 restaurants located in 11 states: Arizona (Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler); Colorado (Denver); Connecticut (Stanford); Illinois (Lincolnshire, Oakbrook); Indiana (Carmel); Louisiana (Baton Rouge); Michigan (Troy); Missouri (Kansas City); Nebraska (Omaha); Nevada (Las Vegas); Texas (Austin, Dallas, Houston, Sugar Land, San Antonio). For more information, visit


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