Transforming Big Box Stores into Culinary Destinations

Southern California is turning vacant big box stores and old packing plants into culinary destinations. Bog box stores offer grants to communities.

Some California cities are redeveloping vacant big box stores and old packing plants into culinary engines of economic development.

According to the Daily Bulletin, Ranch Cucamonga, Calif., is working on turning a closed J.C. Penney into a culinary destination called Haven City Market.

The space is 85,000 square-feet. The store closed in 2014, so the city wants to turn it into an engine of economic development that magnetizes millennials while it attracts all ages. Not far from City Hall, the converted space will include a food hall, a gourmet food market and retail space for food and beverage boutiques and retailers.

The idea came from the popular Anaheim Packing District, a historic 42,000-square-foot former Sunkist citrus packing house that city of Anaheim developers renovated and opened in 2014.

Dominick Perez, the Ranch Cucamonga’s associate planner, has approved all interior improvements, with exterior building permits still in review and pending approval.

“There is going to be outdoor garden eating area and that’s going to be 20,000 square feet,” Perez said. “It will be connected to the south end of the building.”

There is also talk of an entertainment permit for the space.

It’s exciting because it’s probably the first one in this general area, probably in San Bernardino County besides more of the traditional mall and food court settings,” said Rancho Cucamonga Planning Director Candyce Burnett.

The city of Redlands also plans to reinvent another historic packinghouse, the Redlands Packing Plant, and offer space for restaurants and specialty food retailers. That property will include history displays, public art and common areas.

Read the original story on the Daily Bulletin.

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About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Praetorian Digital. She is based in Massachusetts.