Community has always played a prominent role in the life cycle of a city and its economy, perhaps now more so than ever. As part of an effort to revitalize community in its home base of Sebastopol, California, The Beale Group has created a vision for The Livery on Main, a food hall space designed to not only feature a unique dining experience with local vendors, but also provide a gathering space for the community to join as a collective.
“It all started with the desire to create a welcoming gathering place for our community,” said Jennifer Klein, marketing and creative director for The Beale Group, in an email to The Registry. “A place to enjoy the best food, drink and art Sonoma County had to offer. We were inspired by other projects such as the Ferry Building in San Francisco. We love the idea of an artisanal Food Hall showcasing high quality food made by talented local chefs.”
The Beale Group, led by CEO and founder Greg Beale, is composed of four businesses responsible for bringing The Livery on Main to life: general contractor Thrive Construction Group, architectural and engineering design firm Builders’ Studio of Sebastopol, master tenant of the project, Farm to Coast Collective, and owner of The Livery on Main Beale Group Properties. Together, The Beale Group’s mission is to empower small businesses and provide them with the resources they need to maintain healthy, people-focused environments for the communities they support.
“This project was designed with local mom and pop businesses in mind,” Klein said.
Located at 135 South Main Street, The Livery on Main has taken on various profiles over the years. At one point in the late 1800s it was an actual livery, then the building was transformed from a hotel to offices to a pizzeria in later decades. After sitting vacant for years, the previous owner reached out to The Beale Group with a petition.
“The prior owner approached us for assistance with architectural design for tenant improvements and we saw an amazing opportunity to reimagine the underutilized property and to beautify downtown while creating something really exciting for our community,” Klein said. “It took a lot of negotiating but we managed to convince the prior owner to sell to us in 2019.”
While the project is still in early stages, the team has recently submitted construction drawings for permit and according to Klein, expect to start construction in February. As of now, the grand opening is targeted for late 2022.
The 22,000 square foot project is divided into three levels with distinctive concepts for each. The first floor, The Stables, embodies the idea of a real livery. Visitors will be able to enjoy The Livery on Main’s dining hall experience on this floor, which also houses the chefs’ kitchens. Dine-in and curbside pick up will also be available for patrons. According to Klein, five chef licensees will serve a number of cuisines to guests, who can then travel to the second level with the help of one of the team’s favorite features of the building.
“Our favorite architectural features that help with navigation is the ability to see The Loft when you enter the first level,” Klein said. “The walls bordering the opening will be made of glass so there is interaction between the floors.”
The second level features The Loft, which will feature an entertainment venue, as well as a party room and a bar lounge dubbed The Farriers. With seasonal specialty drinks and local, sustainably sourced food, the team’s goal is for The Farriers to be a neighborhood speakeasy. The chefs at The Stables—Charro Negro, Village Bakery, Lunchbox, Cozy Plum and Taverna Lithi—will be able to cater events on both the second and third levels, creating a “symbiotic relationship,” according to Klein.
“The success of our chef licensees is important to us,” Klein said. “We have found a way to secure a single liquor license that can be shared between all of our licensees. Shared cost of the liquor license helps to remove the barrier of entry and allows all to profit from the use of the license.”
The third floor, aptly named The Rafters, can be used as a flex venue and rooftop garden space for guests. Initially, the entertainment venue was to be located on the rooftop level, which proved to be a challenge for the team.
“Our original design had the event venue on the rooftop but due to sound ordinance challenges, we pivoted to move the venue to the second floor which in the end is a much better solution,” Klein said.
With a menu that can be catered by the chefs at The Stables, and easy access to The Farriers on the second level, The Rafters provides yet another opportunity for the community to gather and enjoy the local flavors of Sebastopol.
While the project doesn’t require a complete architectural restructure of the existing building, the team worked with mechanical and structural engineers to create an interior redesign that allowed for roof openings that would provide more natural light for the structure. The design also includes excavation for an elevator, as well as a replacement of the stucco facade with traditional brick.
Beale Group Properties has also acquired the adjoined Persinger Building, which will serve as The CoWork space for The Livery on Main. The CoWork will feature high speed fiber internet, coworking amenities and even cowork memberships to aid guests looking to work remotely, host work events and more. Once construction is completed on the main building, the team will open the common wall between the two structures, adding 3,000 square feet more to the project.
“[This] will bring a steady stream of customers for the chefs in The Stables, as well,” Klein said.
While the shift in levels for the entertainment venue and fluctuating costs of materials have proved to be challenging for the team, The Beale Group is looking forward to the completion of the project and the amenities the community will be able to enjoy through The Livery on Main.
“We are all very much looking forward to the state of the art live music venue,” Klein said. “Having the CoWork on site is pretty exciting too, so none of us miss a beat.”
The Livery on Main is currently open for vendor applications, as well as investors for Farm to Coast Collective.
“We are looking for extremely talented and creative chefs, makers and artists who want to start or expand their business,” Klein said. “People who share our core values of community, collaboration, compassion and sustainability are a high priority for us.”
The Beale Group’s goal is to continue serving the people of Sebastopol through The Livery on Main. At the end of the day, the feeling of community is still a prominent role in completing that mission.
“The hope is to bring the community together,” Klein said. “To become a community gathering place where people can celebrate and spend time together while enjoying local offerings.”