Food hall at Providence’s Union Station to open in spring 2024

The project is expected to cost approximately $19.3 million and will feature seven local merchants, vendor carts, a central bar and seating for more than 300, as well as an outdoor plaza for al fresco dining

An architectural rendering showing a three story yellow brick symmetrical building with red accents.
Renderings for the proposed food hall planned for the exterior of One Union Station in Providence, Rhode Island. Marsella Development Corporation

The developer behind plans to construct a food hall inside downtown’s historic Union Station says he’s looking to open in the spring of 2024.

“The food hall project continues to move forward; demolition is complete and construction will begin in earnest this summer,” confirmed Christopher Marsella, the president of Marsella Development Corporation, in a statement to the Globe on Monday. […]

The board of directors of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation agreed to award Marsella’s subsidiary, One Union Station, LLC, $1 million from the Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit Act during a meeting on earlier this month. […]

[I]n April 1987, the station was being redesigned for office and retail use when the upper stories were damaged in another fire. Romolo A. Marsella took on the painstaking process of restoring it to its former glory. His company, is now run by his son Christopher Marsella, is estimating the food hall renovations will cost approximately $19.3 million, according to paperwork shared with Commerce’s board of directors.

Marsella Development spokeswoman Kate Murphy told the Globe that the project has faced “some changes” over the last year. The original plans showed Marsella expected to build 13 vendor spaces, two vendor carts, two bars, and seating for approximately 250 people. Murphy said due to “lead times and in order to be more cost effective,” the scope of the project has been reduced to 17,000 square feet with seven local merchants, vendor carts, a central bar and seating for more than 300. An outdoor plaza will provide additional space for al fresco dining.

“The reduction in vendor space does not mean reduction in activity and will, in the end, benefit the merchants because there are fewer businesses with which to split the pie,” said Murphy.

In his statement, Christopher Marsella said the company would have “exciting updates to share in the coming weeks.”

The original construction plans showed a tunnel that would connect former restaurant spaces like Bar Louie, which permanently closed in the beginning of the pandemic. The upper levels of the building, which overlook Kennedy Plaza, will remain under the existing ownership of the Rhode Island Foundation. Rhode Island Kids Count and The Public’s Radio, both of which have offices in the building, are also expected to remain in the upper levels.

[…] The proposed food hall at One Union Station will be similar to Chelsea Market, the famous collection of shops and restaurants inside the historic National Biscuit Company complex in New York City’s Meatpacking District, and Harrods Food Hall in London, which features seasonal food, gourmet confectionaries, charcuterie, and rows of sourdough in a multi-market hall.

By Alexa Gagosz, Boston Globe Staff, April 24, 2023. Captured from