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Thomas Keller acclaimed chef and owner of The French Laundry and New York restaurant owner and Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichton announce new restaurants at Time Warner Center

 Thomas Keller and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, two of America's most acclaimed restaurant owners and chefs, announced today that they will each open new restaurants in AOL Time Warner Center, the landmark development currently under construction at Columbus Circle. AOL Time Warner Center is scheduled to open in the fall, 2003.

Thomas Keller will open a top-tier fine dining restaurant that reflects the high standards he has established for food and service at The French Laundry, his internationally renowned restaurant in California's Napa Valley. The French Laundry has become a mecca for gourmet dining since Mr. Keller opened the restaurant in 1994. Mr. Keller is the first chef to win consecutive "Best Chef" awards from the James Beard Foundation. He was named "Outstanding Chef of the Year" in 1997 following the "Best Chef: California" award in 1996. He has received numerous other accolades and praise from virtually every major food and dining publication both in the United States and abroad. Mr. Keller is also the author of The French Laundry Cookbook, which has won many prestigious international awards.

"We are thrilled to have Thomas and Jean-Georges as the first to announce that they will be opening new restaurants at AOL Time Warner Center. They are both at the pinnacle of cuisine in America today and their presence further reinforces this development as the New York cultural icon for the 21st Century," said Stephen M. Ross, chairman and CEO of The Related Companies, a development partner.

Jean-George Vongerichten will open a world-class steakhouse in the spectacular new dining complex. Mr. Vongerichten is the chef and owner of a number of New York City's most highly acclaimed restaurants including: JoJo, Vong, Jean-Georges and The Mercer Kitchen. His restaurants have been praised by numerous publications and the James Beard Foundation honored him in 1998 for Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Chef, for his four star restaurant Jean-Georges. He is the first chef to receive both of those awards in the same year. Mr. Vongerichten is also the owner of highly acclaimed restaurants in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Chicago.

"The confidence that these two great restaurant owners have shown in AOL Time Warner Center is further evidence of the extraordinary economic strength of this landmark development," said William L. Mack, co-founder and managing partner, Apollo Real Estate Advisors, a development partner.

The new restaurants will be part of the retail, entertainment and dining component of the new complex known as The Palladium at AOL Time Warner Center. The dining complex will include four additional world-class restaurants on the third and fourth floors of the Center.

"New Yorkers dine out as an entertainment experience. We are creating dining excitement unmatched in any one New York City location. With Thomas and Jean-George we begin our crown jewel restaurant collection with two outstanding culinary gems.

"We are certain that The Palladium at AOL Time Warner Center will become a dining destination without equal in New York City," said Kenneth A. Himmel, president and CEO of The Palladium Company, the development partner responsible for the Center's retail, dining and entertainment component. The collection of restaurants is being assembled under the direction of The Palladium Restaurant Group co-managing partner, Phil Suarez. Mr. Suarez is a noted New York restaurant owner, and consultant who currently is a partner with Mr. Vongerichten in several of his other restaurants. Mr. Suarez will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of The Palladium Restaurant Collection from design through opening and operations. "I am thrilled to be working with this accomplished development team.

The dining experiences that we are creating will be without equal and we will clearly establish The Palladium at AOL Time Warner Center as the culinary capital of the United States. With Thomas and Jean-Georges in the forefront, we have two chefs who are unquestionably the brightest stars in the restaurant world today," said Mr. Suarez.

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