■ By THYDA DUONG Long Beach Business Journal C onsumers looking for a bite to eat at the newest development in town may find something a little different on the menu. That’s because traditional restaurants and food courts are facing competi- tion from new developments that are serving up a new kind of social destination for consumers in what has come to be known as food halls. These dynamic spaces showcase a variety of local food vendors, artisan products – and social connection – all under one roof. One of the first such developments in Southern California is South Coast Collection (SOCO) and The OC Mix in Costa Mesa, a development owned by Burnham Ward Properties LLC that features more than 300,000 square feet of restaurants, artisan food vendors, boutiques, interior design show- rooms, creative studios, and a farmers’ market. “When we acquired the property in 2009, it was our vision to create a fun and unique retail shopping destination that did not exist,” says Burn- ham Ward Properties CEO/Partner Scott Burnham. “We sought to create an experiential venue that embraced the best in design, new fashion and inventive chef-driven food.” “Shoppers today demand much more than just the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the past,” Burnham adds, noting that the SOCO demographic ranges from young to old. “The consumer of now seeks retail venues outside the home where they can comfortably shop, congregate, socialize and relax.” With a successful model in place at SOCO and The OC Mix, Burnham Ward Properties is currently working on its newest retail cen- ter, Long Beach Exchange (LBX), which broke ground at Long Beach’s Douglas Park in February 2017 and is scheduled to open in May of 2018. Plans for the aviation-themed LBX call for 266,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. The project will feature three pedestrian and shopping zones, including a 16,800-square- foot open-air artisanal food hall called The Hangar. Modeled as a classic airplane hangar with a modern twist, the area will showcase a variety of dining and shopping experiences similar to other food halls such as The OC Mix, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, the Oxbow in Napa, and the Ana- heim Packing House. “The project has been designed to be both interactive and experiential with its creative open spaces and surrounding tenancies,” Burnham says. “There is so much competition in retail, and to create a successful food hall, much attention needs to be paid to proper design, demographics, and most importantly, curating tenancy. . . . As the consumers’ shopping be- haviors continue to rapidly change, landlords who can intelligently modify their retail models and embrace the changes can succeed.” Tapping into the community’s demographics and its history, LBX seeks to pay homage to Long Beach’s rich aviation history in a project best defined by the word ‘community,’ Burnham adds. 26 Food For Thought – Food Halls Emerge As New Social Space 26 “The project has been designed to be both interactive and experiential with its creative open spaces and surrounding tenancies.” Scott Burnham, CEO/Partner Burnham Ward Properties (Please Continue To Next Page) Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is pictured at SteelCraft in Long Beach, which opened earlier in 2017. SteelCraft has proven to be such a popular community destination that a second one is scheduled to be completed in Garden Grove in 2018. 2017_18Pages_OlsonCopy_PortAnniversary 12/22/17 11:31 AM Page 26