Amenities aren’t what they used to be, and new real estate developments in New York City are changing with the times. Having a gym is one thing, and a kid’s play room is another. But a food hall? Now that’s a buyer’s incentive. These days, food is more important than ever.
Restaurants within major developments have become a major component to selling and renting apartments. In some cases, food options are built into the development plans alongside housing because the neighborhoods leave something to be desired (see Gotham West Market), but restaurants and dining options are also a kind of cultural currency, offering a certain cache to those that frequent them. Indeed, big-name chefs like David Chang (Momofuku) and Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se) have both signed on to various real estate developments to bring restaurants and eateries to them.
A 2016 report by the Urban Land Institute, a research and education organization, found that developers that partnered with food were seeing successes. The report, called “Cultivating Development: Trends and Opportunities at the Intersection of Food and Real Estate,” summarized: “Developers are learning that incorporating opportunities to grow, purchase, and consume food within the context of development projects can pay dividends.This focus on local food is spurring innovation in real estate and is providing a rich arena for creativity that can improve outcomes for people, the planet, and profits.”
When the food hall Gotham West Market opened in 2013 on the ground floor space of a new residential building on 44th Street and 11th Avenue called Gotham West, the area was a no-man’s land for eaters. In Pete Wells’ two-star review in The New York Times, he called the area “Hell’s Freezer.”
The food hall was built to combat that very (chilly) idea of the neighborhood.