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High Growth in Triangle CBD Fueling Food Hall Trend


The national food hall trend is in full swing. By the end of 2020 the U.S. is expected to have approximately 450 food halls in operation, which is a nearly fourfold increase from 2016. The convergence of foodie culture and the sharing economy have found a compelling marriage that is attractive to landlords, restaurateurs and customers.

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“For developers and landlords, the rise of the food hall anchor in residential and mixed-use developments, shopping malls and office towers, has been spurred by a new type of tenant that attracts consumers hungry for authenticity and an experiential lifestyle.” – Food Halls 3.0: The Evolution Continues

High growth in the Triangle’s central business districts (CBD) is largely fueling the food hall trend. Demand for space in these areas is at an all-time high, putting pressure on developers to ramp up activity. While food halls in the Triangle only account for roughly 70,000 square feet (sf) of completed space currently, this number is poised to rise with more opportunities in the nearly 1.6 million square feet (msf) of office space proposed or currently under construction in the CBD.

Morgan Street opened in August 2018 in the heart of downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District, adjacent to the new Union Station, the 17-story Dillon mixed-use development and Citrix. The food hall features over 20 different local eateries, restaurants and food retailers in 20,000 sf. Stalls and retail stands vary in size from 30 to 550+ sf.

Most recently, Transfer Co. opened in early 2019 in historic Carolina Coach Garage and Shops, a five-minute walk from Fayetteville Street. The food hall is comprised of more than 50,000 sf of renovated warehouse and newly built space for food producers, makers, vendors, restaurateurs, their guests and the local community.

Finally, Durham Food Hall is slated to open by the end of the summer at Liberty Warehouse in the Central Park district of Downtown Durham. Totaling 15,000 sf, the food hall will include 10 mini eateries, three private event spaces and two bars. Overlooking The Auctioneer Bar and the main Hall is a 2,300-sf mezzanine, with even more space to host meetings, private parties and events of all sizes.

Cushman & Wakefield’s new report, Food Halls 3.0: The Evolution Continues, takes a deep dive into the food hall trend across the United States. In particular, it explores some new developments in the sector:

  • Expansion into shopping malls, college campuses and office towers
  • Partnerships with craft brewers
  • Growth of live performance, entertainment and community-driven spaces inside food halls
  • Evolution in food hall design enabling more efficiencies for vendors and greater common space
  • Potential areas of risk for investors and developers 

For more analysis on the future of experiential retail, check out Cushman & Wakefield’s Are You Experienced? The Great Retail Reinvention.

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