Imagine one spot where all your friends and family can find food to suit their taste. It can happen in a food hall and Turner Behringer Development Co. intends to make it happen in Downtown Waco.
Union Hall, the 18,000 square-feet venue under renovation at the corner of Franklin Avenue and 8th Street, will soon be home to 24 different food stalls and three permanent restaurants. The name, Union Hall, is a nod to the historic Labor Temple building that is now part of the Franklin Square development, which spans the 700 block of Franklin Avenue.
Shane Turner, part owner of Union Hall, describes the food hall concept as the brick and mortar version of an open-air European market. Another way to think of it is, similar to a food truck park, but inside, he said.
Originally, the space was going to be developed for mixed retail and restaurant occupancy, but Turner said he was itching to do something different. He attended a conference where food halls were being discussed as the next big thing. Turner liked the idea and it took off from there. He began visiting successful food halls in other cities and Turner Behringer Development Co. brought in food hall experts to consult.
“They were excited by what they saw in Waco and they think it will do well here,” Turner said.
Turner expects the project to especially resonate with a younger crowd, but really, it’s for everyone, he said. The atmosphere will be family friendly but alcohol will be sold on the premises.
The project is slated to open in 2018. Those involved are hesitant to get more specific about the date just yet. They’ve been getting the buildings ready and now they are looking to curate the venue’s culinary offerings. Interested parties will submit an application and go through a vetting process.
The eateries will be local and diverse, said Jonathan Garza, commercial leasing and marketing agent for Lucra. Union Hall will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“There will be enough variety to go there three or four times a week and not get the same thing,” Garza said.
The food hall will seat 500 people and will feature patio seating and a mezzanine inside where they hope to have a craft beer vendor. Garza said they also plan to host live music and events and get the creative community involved in making the food hall a popular hang out.
Turner said Union Hall is expected to be another attraction that drives traffic into Downtown Waco.
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