Business Ins & Outs

In: Escape Room Live Coming to M Street How’s this sound? We lock you in a room and you have 45 minutes to find clues to get the heck out of there. Whether that’s your idea of fun or not, Escape Room Live is coming to 3345 M St. NW. Formerly occupied by West Elm, the location is next to the shuttered Capriotti’s sandwich shop, where the legendary Cellar Door once held musical court.

“A challenging, interactive entertainment experience, Escape Room Live incorporates brainteasers and puzzle challenges with the adrenaline rush of a race against the clock,” the company says. “With only a few hints, the group must use their wits, ingenuity and teamwork to complete the challenge and escape the room.”

“The two-floor, 6,573 square-foot Georgetown space will serve as Escape Room Live’s largest location with six individually themed game rooms with CGI special effects, a reception space, lounge, bar and catering space designed to entertain up to 150 guests that is set to open this summer,” according to the company.

Escape Room Live on M Street has obtained licensing to set up rooms with themes from such films as “Friday the 13th,” “Ghostbusters,” “The Mummy,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Titanic.” Edgar Allan Poe rooms are also in the works.

“We are taking the level of immersion up several notches by incorporating Hollywood-style set design, CGI effects, lighting and sound into our new rooms,” says Ginger Flesher-Sonnier, owner and CEO of Escape Room Live. “With these upgraded effects, we are able to bring a greater sense of reality to the game. For example, the ‘Titanic’ room will have a porthole timer where the water level viewed through the porthole gradually gets higher as time passes and, at 45 minutes, will appear to crack the window and water will look like it’s pouring in.”

Escape Room Live has other locations up Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, in Alexandria and elsewhere. A competitor, the Great Escape Room, is on Connecticut Avenue.

In: Paisano’s Pizza Starts Slicing Friday Paisano’s Pizza will open the first of its nine new Washington, D.C., stores right here in Georgetown. The store will open this Friday at 1815 Wisconsin Ave. NW, in the compact retail area by the Georgetown Safeway. Eight more D.C. locations will follow in the next year and a half. The franchise partners are Antoine Chahine, Ron Trowbridge and Daniel Bechara.

“We’re excited to continue to expand and provide customers with the same quality of food that we’ve served for nearly two decades,” says Capital Restaurant Group CEO Fouad Qreitem, who opened the first Paisano’s Pizza in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1998.

Paisano’s features pizzas, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, wraps, subs, wings and calzones. It will be mostly a delivery and take-out operation at the new Georgetown space, which formerly housed a Roosters barber shop.

Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, Capital Restaurant Group runs 28 Paisano’s and Bella Pizza locations in Virginia and Maryland — also operating eateries in Dubai, such as Spinfire Pizza with co-owner Pierre Garçon, Redskins wide receiver.

Out: Nine West Walks Off The women’s shoe and handbag store, Nine West, at 1227 Wisconsin Ave. NW, has closed and left no forwarding address.

Moving: Sports Zone (Where? They’re Not Sure) Sports Zone at 3140 M St. NW is moving — not closing, it assures its customers. The store does admit, however, that its new address is unknown and that a new name is afoot: Sports Zone Elite.

Thor Equities Closes on Former Latham Property for $53.35 Million Real estate developer and investment firm Thor Equities closed on its acquisition of 3000 M St. NW for $53.35 million, the company reported July 20. The property once housed the Latham Hotel, Michel Richard’s Citronelle restaurant and the more casual La Madeleine. All closed in 2012, reportedly due to water damage. It is the first D.C.-area acquisition by the New York-based company.

“The 10-story, 125,000-square-foot corner building features 280 feet of wraparound frontage on 30th Street and M Street, the prime retail corridor in Washington, D.C.,” says Thor Equities, which “plans to redevelop the retail space along M Street to create a premier flagship location, with up to 27,000 square feet on the ground, lower and second levels. The company is also repositioning a portion of the property into a luxury boutique hotel with up to 100 rooms, a high-end restaurant, and additional food & beverage space.”

BID Hires Communication Director The Georgetown Business Improvement District has named Lauren Boston as its communications director. Boston will lead public relations strategy and communications efforts for the marketing of Georgetown and the BID’s initiatives, also managing its social media and websites.

Boston, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, comes to the BID after six years with the National Apartment Association. According to her bio, supplied by the BID: “she performs with Washington Improv Theater, is the writer and producer of a comedy webseries, and is attempting to make her way through every National Park, used bookstore and major league ballpark.”

“Lauren’s creative approach to communications and her proven storytelling abilities will be an asset in marketing Georgetown, since our neighborhood is full of interesting people, places and things,” said BID CEO Joe Sternlieb.

Escape Room Live, coming soon to 3345 M St. NW.

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