By Dan DeBaun - Mar 23, 2017
A large food hall with space for restaurants, market vendors and hundreds of diners is being planned for a warehouse near Surly Brewing Co. in east Minneapolis.
Patricia and John Wall are working on the project, tentatively named Harris Food Hall. It’s part of a larger redevelopment of nearly 20 acres in the Prospect Park neighborhood, dubbed Malcolm Yards, that would include space for retail, offices and a rock-climbing facility.
It's a big change in strategy for owner Wall Development Co., which for more than a decade had planned to redevelop the land into a research park linked to the nearby University of Minnesota. That idea never got off the ground, but the success of Surly Brewing (located just across Malcolm Avenue) convinced the Walls that a new approach could work.
"My heart still likes the [research] idea, but apparently nobody else did so we shifted," John Wall said.
Plans for the Food Hall call for renovating the Harris Machinery building to create over 16,000 square feet of space, room enough for a 4,000-square-foot anchor restaurant and a food market with eight to 10 vendors.
Plans also show a large central seating area, which would have a bar and space for around 300 people.
"We're thinking this will be a great place for a couple restaurateurs, food trucks or chefs to start new concepts," Patricia Wall said, adding that a local distillery has expressed interest.
To date, there aren't any signed leases and Wall wouldn't name any interested parties. She's working with Laura Chin (the daughter of restaurateur Leanne Chin) to lease out the space and hopes to have Harris Food Hall open in 2018.
The project will require heavy updates to the warehouse. Minnetonka-based Kalcon Commercial Construction is the general contractor; Hopkins-based Wilkus Architects is the designer. Kalcon President David Kalogerson said construction is projected to take around eight months.
"We’re going to keep the old distressed ruins but upgrade the site so it keeps its unique character," Kalogerson said.
John Wall said Wall Development will invest "several million" to renovate the warehouse, but Harris Food Hall is only one piece of the larger Malcolm Yards development, which would cost significantly more.
Wall also wants to add a 100,000-square-foot office building and 40,000 to 60,000 square feet of retail space, and plans recently submitted to the city call for Midwest Climbing LLC to build an indoor climbing wall.
If it comes together, the project would be a big addition to an area that a few years ago was blighted and largely vacant industrial space. The completion of the nearby Green Line light rail project has been followed by numerous development projects, and Surly proved that people will trek to an altogether new neighborhood — if the attractions there are good enough.
The comprehensive plan for the development and Harris Food Hall needs to be submitted to the city. Patricia Wall said the firm is finalizing designs and will then work with city planning and zoning. The food hall project has already landed grants from the state and Hennepin County totaling $475,000.