The founder of Tampa’s first food hall has signed a deal with Midtown Tampa to open a second location on the ground floor of a boutique office building.
Hall on Franklin founder Jamal Wilson will develop The Hall at Midtown, an 8,000-square-foot food hall that includes a private dining room, a 1,200-square-foot patio and 300 seats. The Hall will be the largest food and beverage concept within Midtown, developer Bromley Cos. said.
Midtown, a $500 million project, spans 22 acres at the interchange of North Dale Mabry Highway and Interstate 275. It will include office space, retail, restaurants, hotel rooms, apartments and green space. The Hall at Midtown should open in the first quarter of 2021, Wilson said. He is also under construction on a location in Orlando which should open by the end of the year.
The Hall is the second major retail deal Bromley has won in recent weeks. In July, the developer announced it has signed an 8,000-square-foot deal with Royal Pets Market & Resort, which includes dog day care, veterinary and grooming facilities. Retail users in the 8,000- to 10,000-square-foot size range weren’t common before the novel coronavirus pandemic and are even more rare in the era of Covid-19, which has decimated retail, restaurants and service-based concepts like gyms and salons.
Midtown’s 240,000 square feet of retail space is now 80 percent leased, Bromley CEO Nicholas Haines told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Bromley has landed Whole Foods Market, which is relocating from the nearby Walters Crossing shopping center, as well as the region’s first REI.
“One of our goals at the beginning of Midtown was to make it the most exciting food and beverage district in Tampa,” Haines said, “and no matter what your food tastes, you can come to Midtown without even having an actual destination and just kind of stroll from one place to another.”
Bromley entered negotiations with Wilson before the pandemic took hold, Haines said, and the way he sees it, the Hall makes even more sense for Midtown in a post-Covid world.
“Frankly, I liked that he was a smaller operator with such an entrepreneurial spirit,” Haines said, “and we recognize the world is changing so fast that we needed someone like him whose concept could really evolve.”
Scott Dobbins and Curtis Rorebeck of Hybridge Commercial Real Estate represented Wilson in the transaction. Haines said The Hall signed a 10-year lease with Bromley for the ground floor of Loft at Midtown.
Wilson, who sold his mortgage company Leverage Financial to GTE Financial in 2013, opened the Hall on Franklin in 2017. The full-service nature of the Hall — diners can place orders from multiple vendors via one server and pay one tab — makes it an anomaly in the food hall world.
Wilson said it’s too soon to say what concepts the Hall at Midtown might feature or put a total on construction costs, as the location is still in the design phase. Like the Tampa Heights location, the Hall at Midtown will have an industrial chic vibe, but the two locations won’t be carbon copies of each other. The private dining area will include a Topgolf Swing Suite, where diners can play a number of virtual games.
“Everything you do in the restaurant business should be about stickiness,” Wilson said, “and trying to get people to stay a little longer. I go out to dinner a lot, or I used to pre-Covid, and it gets to a point where you want to get up and move around.”
In May, Wilson’s Tampa Heights landlord filed an eviction lawsuit against The Hall on Franklin. Wilson said he and the landlord, A2 LLC, have reached a “mutual agreement” and declined further comment.