Nearly two years after details of a chef collective at Lightwell were first teased, developers today announced the popular urban Johnson County food experience Strang Hall will indeed open a second location in downtown Kansas City.
“Like the original Strang Hall in downtown Overland Park, the concept will be a casual, modern space designed for community and authentic, local food,” said Shawn Craft, CEO of Menlo Food Labs, Strang Hall’s parent company. “The Lightwell location will showcase local culinary talent and be a launching point for food entrepreneurs to showcase their skills and provide true authentic chef-driven experiences to the Central Business District.”
Dubbed the “Strang Chef Collective at Lightwell,” the incoming concept is expected to bring two new food and beverage concepts in a single destination spanning 4,805 square feet in the building — the current Jason’s Deli space — plus outdoor seating on Main Street. The curated market will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will include an organic coffee, tea and juice shop as well as a full-service bar, according to Menlo.
Construction is expected to start in late December 2021 at Lightwell, a mixed-use office tower and innovation hub at the corner of 11th and Main streets.
Made in KC Cafe also signed a lease to move into the ground floor of Lightwell in early 2022, taking over a space previously operated by Starbucks.
Since acquiring the tower in 2019, New York-based SomeraRoad has transformed the Lightwell building with modern amenities, a state-of-the-art conference center, a private tenant lounge, numerous event spaces, and a public art gallery in collaboration with Haw Contemporary.
Click here to read more about Lightwell’s plans to draw tech talent back to the office.
Serial entrepreneur Tim Barton, Menlo co-founder and Strang Hall founder, first mentioned plans for the chef collective concept’s expansion to Lightwell in February 2020, telling a crowd at Startland News’ Innovation Exchange event that the space would likely cap the ongoing renovation at the 30-story, 657,070-square-foot downtown building — notably home to WeWork, BacklotCars, PayIt, and the Kansas City Tech Council, among other firms and businesses.
Click here to read more about Barton’s early vision for the Lightwell-based food hall.
Initially planned as a 13,500-square-foot food hall with five chef concepts, designs were scaled back amid the building’s renovation, as well as shifting trends and priorities during the pandemic, developers told Startland News previously.
SomeraRoad worked with JE Dunn, AREA Real Estate Advisors, and HOK to bring the Lightwell project to fruition with efforts like the new Strang Chef Collective meant to appeal to a new generation of workers, they said.
“From the beginning, we wanted the building’s transformation to emphasize health and wellness, and high-quality food is a key component of that vision,” said Basel Bataineh, director at SomeraRoad. “This chef-driven experience will add value and ease for both our tenants and the downtown community alike. We are excited to welcome the Strang Chef Collective as our newest tenant at lightwell, addressing what has long been a food desert in the CBD.”
Jason’s Deli is relocating across the street to Town Pavilion, 1111 Main St., in the former Mama Tio’s space to accommodate the new food concept’s arrival.
“We know how beloved Jason’s was to the people in our building and so we took an active role in helping them find a location in the same neighborhood that would continue to serve lightwell tenants and the downtown community,” said Tim Schaffer, president of AREA Real Estate Advisors.
The new Jason’s Deli location is expected to open by March, he added.