Equipment delays have pushed back the opening of the first phase of the Trolley District, the long-awaited Near East Side food, office and entertainment development.
The district’s East Market food hall is now expected to open in early December, months after its August target date.
“We’ve had to make some changes to some electrical and plumbing to accommodate a few tenants, but the largest setback is just waiting on kitchen equipment,” said Brad DeHays, owner of the Trolley District’s developer, Connect Realty.
DeHays said the project, just south of Franklin Park, is awaiting 40 three-compartment commercial sinks ordered in May or June. The sinks are scheduled to be delivered in mid-November.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “We ordered everything at once and those sinks are still on back order. … We can’t just go out and buy something like that.”
The market now expects to open in early December, and has started taking reservations for holiday parties.
On the good news side, DeHays said all 20 stalls in the market building have been spoken for, although some prospects who have not signed leases may change. In all, 15 tenants are expected to occupy the stalls.
Butcher and Grocer will occupy five stalls with a butcher shop, fish monger, cheese shop, green grocery and beer and wine shop.
Other tenants to sign leases include: Macho Taco, Yellow Brick Pizza, Plant Gays, Koso Korean street food, Trolley Barn Chicken, Creole 2 Geaux, American Nut Co., Railhouse bar and Switch speakeasy.
The supply chain shortages are the latest challenge in a project that has been full of them.
The $25 million development involves renovating five 1880s-era buildings that once housed the city’s trolley facilities. The buildings had fallen into severe disrepair, some barely more than shells.
In addition to the basic challenge of making the building habitable again, the project was hampered by a fire that damaged the roof, heavy rains that collapsed a wall, and COVID-19 labor delays.
When finished, the development is expected to house about two dozen food, bar and retail tenants in five buildings on more than 3 acres.
After the East Market food hall and bar, the next portion expected to open is the Columbus Brewing Co. brewpub and beer garden. Developers hoped the brewpub would open this year, but now forecast early 2022.
“We’re moving it forward, but there have been a lot of hold-ups,” DeHays said. “The structure itself is done, the windows are in, and the underground is all in. Hopefully we’ll start pouring floors in the next three weeks.”
Also scheduled to open next year will be a small building housing a seafood boil restaurant; a small office building; and a larger building housing four more tenants including Local Cantina Mexican restaurant.
Ultimately, the development also will include the Trolley District Apartments, a five-story, 102-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of Oak Street and Kelton Avenue, across the street from the East Market building. DeHays plans to start on the apartments next year.