Collective Projects
Developers utilize Opportunity Zone to Bring Food Hall to Sandusky
A new food hall is coming to downtown Sandusky at the site of the former Cardinal Grocery. The project will include a mix of food stalls, a cocktail bar, and café. The $2 million development will feature a public piazza and patio to provide space for public art, entertainment, and indoor/outdoor dining. The developer is Collective Projects, a real estate investment company focused on Qualified Opportunity Zones in Ohio. Founded by Dave Yanko and Rahul Paliwal, the company seeks to build shared opportunity for everybody involved in its developments; meaning value creation for all stakeholders – project owners, contributors, guests, and the community. 
Fast Facts
  • $2,000,000 investment in former Cardinal Grocery redevelopment
  • 11,000 square feet of open concept food hall
  • $400,000+ annual payroll for 8 permanent and 6 seasonal jobs
  • Summer 2020 grand opening date
Originally from Cleveland, Dave Yanko grew up along Lake Erie. This and the company’s other Ohio developments have a place near and dear to his heart. These projects not only represent a way for Dave to give back to his roots, but there is also much opportunity and untapped potential for the company to provide new human-centric experiences to the community.

In Sandusky, that experience comes in the form of a food hall. A food hall is the next generation of the market hall - where there are curated food and beverage options and space is localized and programmed for the lifestyles, desires, and tastes of the community. A bar-anchored hall will be combined with packaged goods retail and a culinary maker's space. This venue will fill the missing need of fast-casual food in downtown and also provide a space to gather and engage. Yanko and Paliwal have traveled domestically and internationally to seek out the world's best food experiences and use that knowledge to inform placemaking in Sandusky.
Rendering of food hall & piazza
Interior renderring
While seeking the best influences from across the world for the food experiences, the developers are also seeking the best of the best in design and experience. Collective Projects has brought on Dan Einzig at Mystery, an award-winning design firm based in Los Angeles, to concept the space. They are also working with Colicchio Consulting, a subsidiary of Cushman & Wakefield based in New York City, on programming and the curation of operational partners. Colicchio is among the foremost experts in food hall concepting and development, writing the annual report on food halls for Cushman and actively working on approximately 20 projects throughout the United States. Phil Colicchio, principal at Colicchio Consulting, states: “Food halls are…an evolution in dining out, taking cues from the shared economy.”

The food hall’s design elevates the relationship between the typical guest experience and connects it to one thing that makes Sandusky special – life on the Lake. The public piazza will serve as a gathering space, with outdoor patios, public art, interactive games, and spaces for live entertainment. Step inside through the barrel-shaped entrance and you will experience designed to reflect the nautical aspects of lake life – each food stall emulates a boat house while a skiff hangs from the ceiling amidst lighting, fixturing, and other accents that pull through the maritime theme. Interior design elements will feature exposed brick, copper, corrugated steel, and upcycled nautica to complete the look.
The space can easily be converted for special events and parties, with a drop-down projector screen for live sports and tables for eating converting to ping pong and vice versa. The building renovation will also include improvements for greater environmental sustainability with upgrades to electrical and new pane windows to make the space more energy efficient.
View from Market Street - the food hall and lighthouse will serve as a beacon for visitors, drawing them to Sandusky's food scene
The chef-driven concept will place food entrepreneurs in an incubator-type setting, allowing businesses to experiment and learn from one another in an exciting environment while honing on a daily basis their concepts to the tastes and desires of their guests. The concept will be localized through partnerships with Erie County Economic Development Corporation, an operator from the region who will run the food hall, and entrepreneurs whose businesses will inhabit the space. 

This year has been dubbed ‘The Year of the Food Hall.’ According to Cushman & Wakefield, what began as a trend that was largely relegated to just a few markets has since exploded. In 2016, there were roughly 120 projects across the country. That number is on track to nearly quadruple, with 450 food halls expected to be operational throughout the United States. by the end of 2020. Collective Projects' partner, Phil Colicchio, says, “Food Halls are definitely a powerful movement; they are here to stay and for good reason. Food halls not only appeal to our inherent craving for variety, they also enjoy an inherent practical advantage over both food trucks and standalone restaurants. If a restaurant or a food truck struggles, it closes. If one or two vendors in a food hall struggle, a venue operator can work with them to modify their programs or change them out without disrupting the whole operation…. that’s the primary reason why we haven’t seen too many food halls fail.” In Sandusky, we're ready to believe in that model and prove Phil right.
Did You Know?
A Qualified Opportunity Fund is a tax-incentivized investment vehicle which seeks to attract investor interest in underserved markets by offering the deferral and elimination of capital gains taxes. Opportunity Fund investors receive a 7-year deferral and 15% reduction on recent cap gains of a prior investment, plus market rate returns on the new investment with complete elimination of taxes on all new gains. The Opportunity Fund must invest a sum for redevelopment which is equal to the stating basis of the building in order to qualify for the aforementioned tax incentives. There are approximately 8,700 such census tracts located throughout the United States including in Sandusky and Huron. ECEDC can help your business understand how to take advantage of Opportunity Zones for your project. Contact us to learn more.
Stay Tuned for Day 4: Quarry Hill Orchards
Facebook Join My List Logo
The 12 Days of Development email series recognizes and celebrates another year of progress in Erie County, Ohio. Throughout the weeks of December, you will receive email spotlights on a company investing, improving and innovating in our community. We can't capture it all, so let us know a neighbor we missed or what activities you've got planned to make the 2020 list! #ErieCounty12Days