Mid City development’s first tenant a multi-booth food hall at old Giamanco's site _lowres

Rendering courtesy of SQUARE 46 -- The Square 46 mixed use development on Government Street announced its first tenant. White Star Market, a hall that will have nearly a dozen different food and drink booths, will take up 6,000 square feet in Square 46. Construction on Square 46 should start no later than early summer.

White Star Market, a hall that will have nearly a dozen different food and drink booths, is the first tenant in the Square 46 mixed-use development on Government Street.

The market will take up about 6,000 square feet in one of the two buildings in Square 46, said Joshua Hoffpauir, the architect who is developing the old Giamanco’s restaurant site at 4646 Government St.

Hoffpauir said the market will be set up like the St. Roch Market in New Orleans. Diners can purchase food and drinks from different booths.

Clark Gaines who is setting up the market, said food halls are popular in Europe and large U.S. cities. “My wife and I lived in Columbus, Ohio, and there was a hall there that we loved,” Gaines said. “When we moved to Baton Rouge, we talked about putting one in back here.”

Gaines, who runs an asset management firm, was the original Baton Rouge franchisee for the Mellow Mushroom pizza chain.

Several vendors have committed to a space in the market, Gaines said. He isn’t releasing the names of the tenants yet, but said they will represent a number of different types of dishes, including high-quality coffee, oysters, tacos and a bar. Vendors will vary, from established chefs trying spin-off concepts to restaurant operators who don’t have a presence in Baton Rouge dipping into the market. “This is not an incubator,” Gaines said. “We’re very selective. If you don’t have restaurant business experience, then you will need a sharp business plan.”

Hoffpauir said every city known for its cuisine has a food hall. “This will put Mid City Baton Rouge on the culinary map,” he said.

Plans are to break ground on Square 46 in the early summer or sooner, with White Star Market opening at the end of the year or in early 2017.

Square 46 will be a mix of eight market-rate apartments, office space and retail. Faulk & Meek will be the contractor.

Square 46 was first announced in November 2014, with a groundbreaking anticipated for spring 2015. The development was pushed back because of delays with the Government Street plan. The plans call for turning the four-lane road into a two-lane road with a turning lane and making improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

Hoffpauir said he delayed starting construction because of concerns infrastructure improvements at Square 46 could be ripped out once the Government Street work started.

“We wanted assurances on what they would do in front of our site,” Hoffpauir said, “but we’ve received a DOTD permit to proceed with our project.”

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