Colony Square’s planned food hall has a new operator and a new name, according to a press release Wednesday from developer North American Properties (NAP). Slated to open in spring 2021 in Midtown’s 50-year-old mixed-use destination, which is undergoing a $400 million transformation, will be Politan Row at Colony Square. It will be operated by Politan Group. Originally, NAP had tapped Indigo Road’s Steve Palmer to curate the food hall which was to be called Main & Main. Next up was Oz Rey which also departed the project.
Politan Group, headed by Will Donaldson since 2014, has opened six food halls in Chicago, Miami, Houston, and New Orleans. Of Politan Group’s food halls, three have won “best restaurant” awards and three of its original food concepts have been nominated for James Beard awards. Colony Square marks the seventh and largest food hall in Politan Group’s portfolio, with room for 11 food and beverage concepts, a central bar, and three event spaces (plus a secret bar).
“Food halls provide an unparalleled social and cultural environment where people from all walks of life can mingle over a shared experience and experiment with unique fare at approachable price points,” Donaldson said in the release. “There is pent-up demand for socialization brought on by the pandemic, and we expect food halls to play a major role in the resurgence of the experiential food and beverage economy. Our food hall will be designed to elevate local culinary talent and deliver a dining experience that resonates with post-pandemic foodies.”
More than half of the square footage at Politan Row at Colony Square is dedicated to outdoor dining. Interior space makes up approximately 20,000 square feet, while outdoor space encompasses 22,000 square feet. The food hall also features a “NanaWall” that opens up the interior space to engage with the outdoors. The outdoor experience includes The Plaza, The Patio, and The Grove.
The Patio features a variety of covered seating and shuffleboards and fronts the stage and Plaza at Colony Square. Separately, there will be an outdoor bar, which allows open carry of beverages throughout Colony Square. The Plaza will open to the public following the local nonprofit City of Refuge’s annual fundraising event on October 8. NAP will activate The Plaza daily with community programming, such as comedy shows and live music. Already, Colony Square hosts more than 200 events a year. The Grove opened in May 2019 and has become a popular spot for alfresco dining, especially with its excellent tree cover and seating shaded from the sun.
Politan Group is also implementing a fully digital interface that provides an alternative to the traditional counter-order experience meaning guests don’t have to approach the counter unless they want to. Guests can use the technology to easily place orders and utilize contactless pick-up and drop-off options. The food hall will also be equipped with movable, flexible furniture to easily accommodate occupancy restrictions and create comfortable space between groups.
“The food hall model already complements the way people want to dine post-pandemic, with quick, counter-service, quality, cost-conscious food and flexible seating,” Mark Toro, chairman of NAP Atlanta, said in the release. “Our food hall will take these benefits even further by providing ample outdoor space and enhanced technology that creates a seamless dining experience for people who are coming out of social isolation and desperately craving community togetherness.”
NAP started construction on the redevelopment of Colony Square in October 2017. The complex, multi-phase project involves demolishing the former mall, breaking up the fortress-like footprint, pushing out the street-level retail, adding two office buildings, and creating new pedestrian connectivity throughout the community. The reimagined Colony Square features a variety of open-air gathering places, such as The Grove and The Plaza; a resort-level Concierge program; and modern dining and entertainment experiences, like dine-in movie theater IPIC which will open later this year above the food hall.