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Summerlin developer invests $55M in celebrity chef’s restaurant business

Summerlin developer Howard Hughes Corp. has bought a piece of the Strip’s dining scene.

The real estate company announced Monday that it invested $55 million for a minority stake in celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s global restaurant business, which includes Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio and Jean Georges Steakhouse at the Aria.

Texas-based Hughes Corp., which did not announce what share of the business it owns, said it will have the right to acquire an additional ownership stake in the company.

Jean-Georges Restaurants has more than 40 “hospitality offerings and a strong pipeline of new concepts,” said the release, which noted the restaurant group’s existing management team will retain control of day-to-day decision making.

On Las Vegas Boulevard, Prime’s menu includes cold water lobster tail ($175) and 12-ounce, A5 Japanese wagyu beef New York strip ($720), while Jean George’s menu includes 18-ounce bone-in ribeye ($79) and 36-ounce prime porterhouse ($141).

Vongerichten, whose website says he is “one of the world’s most famous chefs,” boasts a dozen restaurants in New York City alone. He also is involved with Hughes Corp.’s project at the Seaport in lower Manhattan, teaming up on a soon-to-open marketplace in a redeveloped historic building there.

“Working in close partnership with Jean-Georges at the Seaport in New York City, we experienced first-hand his team’s exceptional ability to execute at the highest levels while growing a global business,” Hughes Corp. CEO David O’Reilly said in Monday’s news release, adding the developer sees “significant runway” for the restaurant operator to expand its capital-light management platform.

In Las Vegas, Hughes Corp. sells land to homebuilders in the Summerlin master-planned community, which spans 22,500 acres along the valley’s western rim, boasts more than 100,000 residents and commands some of the highest home and land prices in Southern Nevada.

The company also has spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing a web of retail space, offices, apartments and a minor league baseball stadium in Summerlin’s commercial core off Sahara Avenue and the 215 Beltway.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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