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Five-Chef Food Hall in the Works for Lightwell Lobby

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A food hall featuring five chef-concepts is in the works for the lightwell office tower lobby by the developer of a similar project in the new Edison District building in downtown Overland Park.

Tim Barton of Menlo Food Labs is in late-stage negotiations with SomeraRoad, the firm that purchased the former City Center Square building in early 2019, according to a press release.

Somera is completely overhauling the 43 year-old office tower and rebranding it lightwell. The $85 million project already has landed a major new tenant, WeWork, which announced last year it would lease 100,000 square feet.

Barton opened a similar food hall project called Strang Hall in December in Old Overland Park. If successful, it would be the second food hall in downtown, the first being Parlor which opened two years ago in the East Crossroads.

The lightWell renovation plan includes an outdoor terrace level. The proposed food hall would be on the first floor of the lobby. (Image from Somera Road)

The proposed lightwell food hall would occupy 13,000 square feet on the first level of the 30-story tower at 12th and Main streets. It would be located in the former cafeteria space of the office building, according to a release.

In addition to Strang Hall and the lightwell proposal, Barton is seeking other opportunities for his food hall concept. Other cities outside the Kansas City metro have been identified, but no deals have been finalized.

Menlo’s food halls include a variety of perks for chefs, according to the release.

“The model allows chefs to focus on the creative side of the business and it reduces the risk,” the release stated. “A number of restaurants fail not because of lack of talent, but because chefs struggle with managing the business aspects.”

Strang Hall includes a shared bar. A similar amenity is planned for the proposed lighwell food hall. (Image from Menlo Food Labs)

The new food hall would provide chefs with the necessary kitchen equipment, forgoes traditional leases and oversees certain staff including dishwashers and servers. It also provides technology to support core business functions, the release stated.

Strang Hall offers six different chef concepts in 13,000 square feet. The space also has a shared bar, coffee shop, private dining room and outdoor patio.

(Editor’s note: Beginning in December 2019, CityScene KC has become a paid subscription publication)

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