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San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace Voted 2nd Among Most Popular Food Halls in US

Food Halls
Cushman & Wakefield recently released its Food Halls of America report and video, marking our firm’s first comprehensive national report examining this growing dining trend. The report tracks the explosive growth of food-centered retail since the recession and ranks the top 20 food halls nationally. The first video in a three-part series  discusses the trend with industry experts like celebrity chef and restaurateur Todd English.

San Francisco’s Ferry Building
Ranked number two among all food halls, the historic San Francisco Ferry Building dates back to 1898. Until the opening of the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges in the 1930’s, ferries were the quickest way to cross the Bay and the Ferry Building was the region’s premier transit hub. After the bridges were completed, ferry usage declined and the building eventually found itself in need of repair. Following a major renovation in 2003, the project’s current incarnation.

The Ferry Building Marketplace, was launched, placing this project at the center of Northern California epicurean life. Our view is that the Ferry Building Marketplace is one of the best examples of the modern food hall in the U.S.

“Markets that revolve around the baker, the butcher, the cheese purveyor, beer, good coffee, wine and local dining spots have served as a central hub for us to gather for thousands of years.  The brilliance of the ferry building was bringing this very deep rooted foundation of our human nature back to life in a modern way, ” said Rhonda Diaz-Caldewey, Managing Director


Featuring 40 Restaurants
The 65,000-sf projects features around 40 restaurants and specialty food purveyors, including a mix of artisanal suppliers(Cowgirl Creamery, Acme Bread Company, Beekind, Boccolone Salumeria, Dandelion Chocolate, Fort Point Beer Company, McEvoy Ranch, Prather Ranch Meat Company and others). In addition, it offers a diverse mix of prepared food concepts ranging from street foods (El Porteno Empanadas, Out the Door, Mijita) to sit-down options (The Slanted Door, Gott’s Roadside, et al) as well as food-themed retail (Sur La Table, Bram Cookware and others).

The Ferry Building Marketplace also retains some of the typical characteristics of classic American food halls; it remains a transit hub and it has evolved into one of San Francisco’s premier tourist destinations. The lively Saturday farmers market outside the building is a must for any food-loving visitor who ends up in San Francisco on a weekend. Food + Wine Magazine agrees with us; it recently ranked this project as number one on its list of the World’s Top 25 Food Markets.

“No other retail category has generated as much aggressive expansion over the past few years as food-related retail – and arguably, there is no hotter trend within that category than food halls,” said Garrick Brown, Vice President of Retail Research for the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield.

Food Hall Growth

In the first nine months of 2016, food hall growth increased by 37.1 percent year over year with 18 more projects slated for delivery before the end of the year, according to Cushman & Wakefield data. Restaurants accounted for 25 percent of planned unit growth across all retail concepts tracked in 2007, the first year it began sourcing that data. By 2010, that number had increased to 35 percent, and for the last three years, restaurants have consistently accounted for 50 percent of all planned unit growth.

According to San Francisco Retail Vice Chairman Kazuko Morgan: “Great Food Halls, such as San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, are so exciting because they have the ability to constantly evolve and change with new concepts and cuisines. This keeps the customer coming back for more. From the celebrity chef to the best local purveyor in the category; they can complement one another and also give the consumer as much or as little as they like. Today’s consumers love “experiences” and trying new things, including cuisines or concepts. The modern food halls provide this and can easily change as the consumer demands and tastes inevitably change.”

As recently as a decade ago, food-related retail concepts were more about convenience than quality, the report notes. But fueled by the rise of a “foodie” movement led by celebrity chefs and ushered in by millennials, food-centered social media platforms, and culinary-focused cablechannels, food halls slowly began to enjoy previously unprecedented cache, Brown said.

Consumer desire for quality and authenticity have driven the rise of food-related retail postrecession, with “fast casual” concepts like better-burger chains and fast-fire pizza purveyors presenting serious competition to traditional restaurants, according to the report. Chef-driven restaurants have also exploded in growth since 2010, when both Eataly and Todd English opened upscale European-style food halls concept in New York City.

The top 20 food halls in America include:
Ferry Building Market Place – San Francisco; The Source – Denver; Union Station – Denver; Krog Street Market – Atlanta; Quincy Market Colonnade at Faneuil Hall – Boston; Pike Place Market – Seattle; Reading Terminal Market – Philadelphia; Revival Food Hall at the National – Chicago; Latinicity Food Hall – Chicago; Original Farmer’s Market – Los Angeles; Grand Central Market – Los Angeles; Eataly – New York, Chicago, Boston (coming soon), Los Angeles (coming soon); Midtown Global Market – Minneapolis; The Central Food Hall at Ponce City Market – Atlanta; West Side Market – Cleveland; Union Market – Washington, D.C.; Eastern Market – Washington, D.C.; Liberty Public Market – San Diego; Market on Market – San Francisco; and Market House at the Nashville Farmer’s Market – Nashville.


 “Food Halls of America offers important market insights for our clients, from trending dining concepts to investors pursuing enrichment of retail assets,” said Gene Spiegelman, Head of Retail Services, North America at Cushman & Wakefield. “Our goal in today’s complex environment is to continue driving a better understanding of the markets and the dynamic trends that impact them.”

To access the full report and video, click here


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