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Developer Plans Food Hall, Music Venue In Downtown Wilmington

By Cece Nunn, posted Apr 22, 2021
A developer plans to turn the old National Linen Service building on Fifth Avenue in Wilmington into a food hall, music hall and more. (Google photo)
A development firm announced plans Thursday to transform an historical building in downtown Wilmington into a combination food hall, music hall, commissary kitchen, makers market and more.

Monarch Property Co., creator of Raleigh's Transfer Co. Food Hall, wants to create Seaboard Social Hall in 43,000 square feet at 1315 S. Fifth Ave. in Wilmington, otherwise known as the National Linen Service building. The structure dates back to 1951, according to property tax records.

The property was purchased in March for $460,000 by Greenfield Group LLC from Fifth Street Investors LLC, which paid $230,000 for it in 2011, tax records show.

The building will require a full renovation, with total costs estimated at about $15 million.

The hall is expected to be comprised of multiple venues and is designed to bring together the area’s top chef-driven restaurant concepts, up-and-coming and established food entrepreneurs and retail craftspeople, according to a news release.

"The music hall will attract local, regional and national musicians. Together the halls will offer world-class food and music in a destination like no other and unique to Wilmington," the release stated.

The hall is expected to open in late 2022 or early 2023.

"This will be a key addition as the city’s first and only food hall and will go beyond that to offer a 16,000 square foot music and events venue with a capacity of up to 1,200 people," said Jason Queen, founder of Monarch Property Co., in the release. "Additionally SSH will host a commissary kitchen, food production hub and maker’s market with more to be announced soon.” 

According to the release, "Seaboard Social Hall’s culinary component is envisioned as a collaborative, community-driven, coworking initiative to support the local food ecosystem.

"The complex is purposefully designed to accommodate a range of food business models including dedicated food hall stalls for established chefs and bakers, ghost kitchens to support delivery/pick-up and other off-site models, and commissary memberships (with or without food hall presence) for start-ups, caterers, food truck operators, and like-minded entrepreneurs."

Existing restaurateurs in the area said they are excited about the concept.

“Seaboard Social Hall will be a transformative addition to the Greenfield Park/South Front neighborhood. We at Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington love being a part of a growing community of businesses that provide economic opportunities, especially including locally sourced food purveyors,” said Ben Knight, owner of Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria, in the release. “Plus, the addition of a concert hall helping to promote and share music from artists makes this project nothing short of amazing.”

The release stated that Monarch Property Co. is accepting applications for food hall vendors and commissary members and will announce the first round of food hall vendors in the coming weeks.
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