City Foundry Food Hall & Market in the Plans for St. Louis Development

Cortex and The Lawrence Group, a design-build company headquartered in St. Louis, MO are expanding on their their plans for the Federal Mogul site in Midtown St. Louis.  The site is just down the road from the Midtown IKEA and has been in the planning stage for several years.  It was once envisioned as a basic commercial strip center, but Cortex and The Lawrence Group have released plans that display a full-scale mixed-use development with commercial, office, and residential components.  The entire development could cost almost $250 million USD when all is said and done according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Feast Magazine earlier this week released details on the commercial piece in this article.

According to Feast, the commercial space will be titled “City Foundry Food Hall & Market”, and will include up to 24 food stalls and 3 to 5 full-service restaurants.  In addition to the F&B, there are also plans for 40 retail spaces that would support the culinary offerings.  Some of these retail spaces could sell food items or cookware, but the majority are to likely be non-food related.  City Foundry could open as early as Fall 2018.

The developers have brought on a culinary consultant who is acting as “director of culinary services”.  The consultant, Brad Beracha, who operates a restaurant in St. Louis spoke with Feast Magazine regarding the types of food vendors they will be looking for and the types of concepts that could be at City Foundry:

“Going back to the spirit of innovation and what this building has done since 1930, we really want to get some of the best concepts in the city to come and do something different,” Beracha says. “We don’t want people to just take what they’re currently doing and put it in the food hall – we want to have something that people can’t get anywhere else in St. Louis. It’s challenging the entrepreneurs to get creative and innovative themselves with what they want to offer within the space so that we can create a culinary community moving forward”

This comes back to the blog post I had posted last week regarding the Food Court vs. Food Hall debate.  The developers have entrusted Beracha in curating interesting new culinary concepts for the Food Hall, rather then taking the easy way out and putting in a few local famous chefs and filling it up with local/regional chains.  If planned in a way that Beracha has discussed above, the Food Hall could very well become a great culinary destination in St. Louis.

The initial rendering looks great with high ceilings, lots of windows to allow outside light, and living green walls interspersed along the side.


City Foundry Food Hall & Market – Image credited to Feast Magazine



Culinary Institute of America Expansion into Napa

The Culinary Institute of America Greystone campus in Napa Valley, California is one of the premiere centers for culinary education in North America.  Located about 20 miles NW of downtown Napa, the 120,000 SF campus is located within a beautiful building that was previously used as a winery, and is well over 100 years old.  The CIA has seen continued growth in its programs over the past decade, and the requirement for more space.

This has allowed it to purchase a building in downtown Napa that was previously the home to Copia (The American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts).  Copia, although quite interesting in concept, had incurred a tremendous amount of debt and closed in 2008.  The CIA will be using the 80,000+ SF building for a satellite campus of Greystone, which will house many components including:

  • CIA School of Food Business
  • Demonstration Kitchens
  • On-site Restaurant
  • Retail (cooking equipment, culinary books, specialty foods)
  • Outdoor amphitheater
  • Event space for culinary events, weddings, private corporate events, etc.
  • Public outreach and education

Current Copia Building – Imaged credited to

Last week, the CIA received approval from the Napa Planning Commission for renovations and the transformation of the Copia building.  A full renovation is expected to be complete by 2017, although various components will open earlier, with the restaurant expected to open in Fall 2016.  The project is officially titled CIA at Copia.  This will be a great example of a Culinary-Oriented Development that brings together culinary education, restaurant dining, retail, event, and entertainment space.

The site is adjacent to the very cool Oxbow Public Market, which is like a scaled-down version of Vancouver’s Granville Island, or San Francisco’s Ferry Building.  Oxbow Public market has approximately 20 merchants ranging from the obligatory wine and cheese, to  modern Japanese and charcuterie.

Oxbow Public Market – Image credited to

The combination of the Oxbow Public Market with the new CIA at Copia will create a true culinary destination for people visiting downtown Napa.  I’m sure the economic spin-offs for the City of Napa will be very beneficial in the long run.

Chicago and Urban Agriculture

I was recently reading that Chicago has quickly become one of the top US cities for urban farming/urban agriculture.  There is of course the Chicagoland shining star, “FarmedHere”, a fully organic indoor vertical farm in Bedford Park, Illinois.  They have accomplished a great task of reducing the time, cost, and ecological footprint of delivering fresh produce to consumers throughout the Chicago Metro area by growing their microgreens and herbs hydroponically.  By implementing strategic distribution methods, they have been able to get their fresh produce in over 100 markets and groceries in Illinois.


FarmedHere Facilities in Bedford Park

One of the more recent initiatives that has been picking up steam are “closed loop” food incubators.  Chicago has a great case study in the cheekily named “The Plant”.  Bubbly Dynamics purchased an old pork processing and packing plant that was slated for demolition back in 2010, and have spent the past six year transforming the facility into what they call a living laboratory for urban farming and food production.

When completed, The Plant will be transformed from an energy-intensive pork packing facility into a living laboratory that explores closing waste, energy, and material loops. Waste products and materials from one business will be utilized by another, significantly minimizing or eliminating what ends up in the landfill. Food waste that can’t easily be reused (along with over 10,000 tons per year of food waste from other nearby businesses) will be fed into an anaerobic digester. This machine will create a biogas that can be used to produce both heat and electricity for the building. The businesses located at The Plant will essentially be powering their operations via their own waste!

The Plant currently houses over a dozen small food businesses, including farming, baking and brewing. Plant Chicago partners closely with Bubbly Dynamics and tenants of The Plant to close waste loops in the building. Through technology research and holding up The Plant as an example, Plant Chicago and Bubbly Dynamics can show the world a future of closed loop, net-zero urban food production.

Aside from closed-loop food production, The Plant is also very active for the promotion and education of local agribusiness, aquaponics, hydroponics, and one of my favorites, mycology.  They also host outdoor and indoor farmers markets that feature The Plant resident entrepreneurs, as well as other local and sustainable food businesses.

The Plant is a great example of urban revitalization, community engagement/agri-education, and the conversion of a previously dilapidated building into an anchor of a neighborhood.


The Plant, Chicago – Credited to


The Emergence of Agrihoods

Great article on farmland replacing golf courses as an amenity to sell real estate.

Market Watch Article

These conservation developments, or “Agrihoods” as the Urban Land Institute has titled, have become increasingly popular over the past several years.  With a decrease of North American’s playing golf (National Golf Foundation states that there has been a 30% decline in the last 20 years), coupled with the trend of farm-to-table, it has been a natural fit to incorporate urban and semi-rural farming into communities. The demographic of buyers who are residing in Agrihoods seem to be similar to those who purchased in golf course communities, affluent families in middle to upper income brackets.

The article profiles Serosun Farms outside of Chicago, which is currently in an early development stage:

It’s very early in its development, but Serosun plans to incorporate about 160 acres of working farmland, making farm-to-table a way of life for residents through regular farmer’s markets. The community also offers eight miles of trails, an equestrian center and fishing ponds: 75% of the development will be reserved for farming and open space.

The 114 single-family homes range from $700,000 to $2 million; the median listing price for homes in Hampshire, Ill., is about $238,000, according to ( is owned by News Corp., as is MarketWatch.) The higher price for homes at Serosun reflects the cost of having all that open space, as well as sustainable features such as geothermal heating systems. “There is a reason developers try to put as many dwellings as they can on a site, as preserving land comes at a premium,” DeWald said.

The typical buyer might be a business executive who can have quick access to Chicago via commuter train and O’Hare International Airport 35 miles away, yet can have his or her children to grow up on a farm. Those looking to retire on a farm — but without the hassle of managing the land — might also be drawn to the development, DeWald said. (The farm is a standalone business that is professionally managed, but residents can be involved in various gardening activities if they wish.)


Serosun Farms – Image credited to The Daily Herald

It would be intriguing to investigate the “average” homebuyer for a house in an Agrihood.  Due to the large land requirements and upkeep, will Agrihoods only be attainable for families with relatively high-incomes?  Is there a way to increase density and provide affordable multi-family units within an Agrihood?

This blog will continue to explore Agrihoods over the next several months in a more in-depth basis.

West Louisville FoodPort Close to Fundraising Goal

Great to see the West Louisville FoodPort continue to obtain grants and pledges for its $9 million USD goal.  As it typically is with such progressive community-oriented initiatives, funding can often-times be the detriment to innovative projects getting off the ground.

The Lane Report

According to the non-profit developer Seed Capital, the West Louisville FoodPort will become a beacon of economic investment that will provide food, education, and jobs to the local community.  The project will reside on 24-acres of land, with the project design by OMA Architects.   The renderings are quite striking and would architecturally set the project apart.  Seed Capital states the following for the envisioned FoodPort:

Serving Our Community

The FoodPort is good for farmers, businesses, and the greater Louisville community.

  • Tenants will include farmers, educator, distributors, food processors, startups, and retailers.
  • Businesses and individuals can buy more local food – and regional farmers can sell more of what they grow – in one place.
  • The FoodPort will bring over 300 jobs and is committed to filling as many of those jobs as possible with people from West Louisville.
  • The FoodPort will provide space for classes on cooking, nutrition and gardening, both indoors and at its 2-acre demonstration farm.
  • The site and two large public plazas will include walking paths, play spaces, and public space for gatherings, public markets, concerts and other events.
  • Investments in sustainability will include solar power, geothermal energy, and using rainwater for irrigation and water needs.
  • Retail spaces will be rented to stores selling food for workers, neighbors, and others attracted to the site.
  • Increased presence of employees, neighbors, and visitors will bring restaurants and food markets to life on the busy Market Street corridor.

It will be interesting to see how this develops throughout 2016, and when Seed Capital is able to get shovels in the ground.  A great case study in terms of funding.


Rendering credited to OMA Architects, Architecture Daily, and Seed Capital. 


Revival Food Hall in Chicago Nearly Ready for Opening

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Revival Food Hall in Chicago’s “Loop” plans to open in mid-August, and once in operation, will be the largest and most diverse food option in the area.  It will encompass 24,000 SF of space, featuring 15 food stalls, a coffee shop, bar, record store, and reading corner.

Its prime location will create destination appeal for office workers, local residents, and the tourist crowd.  The developer and operator, 16″ On Center has stated that most food stall operators will be local restaurants, providing a breeding ground for experimentation.  In classic Chicago fashion, the Food Hall will be located in a stunning building (The National) that was originally designed by architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham in 1907.  The property owner, Blue Star, has fully retrofitted the buildings interior which will include office space, outdoor terraces, and a fitness area, in addition to the Food Hall.  It will be exciting to see visuals of the Revival Food Hall once it opens, and whether it will employ design language from Food Halls of the early 20th century.

Saks Fifth Avenue introduces Beaumont Kitchen

According to, Saks new store at Sherway Gardens in Toronto is expected to open on February 25.  The store will have a 5,500 square foot restaurant Beaumont Kitchen which will be operated by Oliver & Bonacini.  Oliver & Bonacini are well known in the restaurant and event circle within Toronto, allowing Saks to have partner who knows the Toronto culinary market and has experience in launching new concepts.

The Saks at Toronto’s Eaton Centre will also have an 11,000 square foot restaurant and bar, displaying that they are targeting Nordstrom Canada’s Bistro Verde concept.

Canadian customers are not used to upscale dining in a department store setting, however Bistro Verde has been performing fairly well during its short time.  With many restaurants moving towards the “upscale-casual” dining concept, the positioning for both Bistro Verde and the new Beaumont Kitchen hits the mark.

I suspect a variety of foods will hit the menus across Saks in Canada, since a department store restaurant has to attempt to meet the needs of a wide variety of customers.

Link to Original Article