Selig Enterprises is positioned to become a major new player in the burgeoning development of food courts in Atlanta. The development company has opened the Chattahoochee Food Works in concert with real estate developer Robert Montwaid and former CNN food show host Andrew Zimmern, who for many years travelled the world to sample offbeat cuisine.
The new, fully leased 25,000 square foot development includes 31 locally based food vendors offering everything from Vietnamese pho to gourmet ice creams and bubble tea drinks.
The facility joins a 9,000-square-foot taproom, bar and brewery with an outdoor patio that opened last October by the Scofflaw Brewing Company. It functions partially as a research and development site for its line of India pale ales and special release beers. Also opening soon is a full-service Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q restaurant.
The master plan for the 80-acre site, The Works at Chattahoochee, where the food hall is located, eventually calls for the development to expand many times over to include 350,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, 500,000 square feet of office space, 500 residences, 200 hotel rooms and 13 acres of green space.
The food court and brewery, along with a number of adjacent retail outlets that have recently opened, are part of the first phase of the project, which covers over 27 acres.
The Chattahoochee Works development until recently was a series of nondescript industrial buildings that had been in the Selig real estate portfolio for more than 50 years.
The project was said to have been initiated by Scott Selig, executive vice president of Selig Enterprises and president of Selig Development before his untimely death in October of 2017.
When the project was first announced, Selig called it “one of the largest and most significant redevelopments underway in Atlanta.” He said at the time, “It is unlike anything in Atlanta in terms of scale and vision. We have planned this development to be a thriving new community and are curating the best talent and concepts to kick-off the development.”
The Works project is yet another development for the busy Selig firm that also recently announced that it had taken over Lenox Marketplace, a 421,000-square-foot retail center across from Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.
The chairman and CEO of the company, Steve Selig, sees it as yet another vote of confidence in the future of retail real estate.
“Since my grandfather started the company more than 100 years ago, Selig has been known to make strategic acquisitions and hold properties for the long term,” he said. “We’re optimistic of the continued improvement of the retail landscape.”
The food hall at the Selig project was developed by Montwaid, who also is behind the highly successful Gansevoort Market in New York City. He also is working on a similar food court with his partner Zimmern at The Dayton’s Project in Minneapolis. Montwaid said his aim in all his projects, like The Works food hall, is to create a comfortable, “welcoming space.”
“It’s a meeting place. It’s almost experiential. I want the customer to feel comfortable. It’s very intimate. I spend a lot of time trying to make it a place where people can spend a lot of time.”
Montwaid has just begun work on a similar 28,000-square-foot operation that is expected to open next year in Underground Atlanta. It will have over 20 dining choices in what he calls a “boutique food market.”
He sees the food hall concept as appealing both to food service entrepreneurs and their customers.
“Financially, it’s a low entry point. So it’s really a good starting point for new people in the business as well as experienced operators. I mean, even before the pandemic, we were seeing a shift in how people eat and dine out. There’s a real quality of food in food halls where you can get a great meal and still gather socially and safely as compared to a large sit-down restaurant.”
Montwaid, who is in the process of making his home in Atlanta, has two more food hall projects on the boards here that will be announced soon.
They will join a busy food hall scene at the Krog Street Market, Ponce City Market and Marietta Square Market, The Collective Food Hall @ Coda in Midtown and the soon-to- debut Politan Row at Colony Square that is set to open June 24.