The Roost and Halal Cart To Open in San Francisco’s The Aviary Food Emporium

San Francisco (March 10, 2020) —  Maven Commercial announced today the signing of leases for two more operators at the innovative development The Aviary at 499 Ellis, San Francisco. A final highly-flexible space of 7,365 square feet remains at this property-transformation that is at the cusp of the dine-in/dine-out and delivery trends in restaurant-retail.  The new leases are:

— The Roost, occupying 1,965 square feet at 479 Ellis, is a casual café conceived by the Merchant Roots restaurant group which will feature artisan coffee and baked goods from a rotating mix of local bakers, as well as readymade lunch fare.  The plant-filled space will also serve as the location of Merchant Roots’ catering operations, run by Ashley Keeler, executive chef – catering.

— Halal Cart has leased 2,158 square feet at 483 Ellis, its first brick-and-mortar space.  The family-run operation has owned halal food stalls, trucks and restaurants over 20 years in Asia and USA, opening its first food cart in 2012 that grew to multiple carts and a wide following.
These follow a lease by the renowned Azalina’s at 499 Ellis, announced last December, as the first to commit to this project in the Tenderloin neighborhood.

The three restaurants will open in 2020 and will redefine this area of the Tenderloin as a food hub in an otherwise restaurant starved part of San Francisco.  

With the three businesses taking all the spaces along Ellis, the Aviary’s only remaining unit is a 7,365 square-foot space, accessible from 352 Leavenworth.  The space’s grand entrance with soaring 30-foot ceilings leads to a lower level that is expected to house offices, entertainment, or a large restaurant.  It is accessible by stairs and an ADA-complaint elevator.

“Cafes and food operators are in highly competitive businesses, and innovative formats are needed to help resolve some of the challenges,” said Joan Ruyle, a broker at retail leasing specialist Maven Commercial.  “The Aviary is a head-to-toe make-over that has transformed this 13,800 square-foot once-abandoned building.”

Kitchen, Space-Design Serving Trends of Dine-in and Food Delivery
“With high-value improvements, kitchen utilities, HVAC systems, infrastructure and finishes already in place, the Aviary’s tenants can be up and running much more quickly than the typical brick-and-mortar in San Francisco,” said Ruyle of Maven Commercial.  “Additionally, our spaces come with an area for an oversized walk-in fridge specifically designed to handle catering, as well as a mezzanine that offers a unique flex space not seen in traditional offerings.  With significant improvements for tenants already in place combined with the building’s affordable rents, tenants are set up for success, which is what we need to be seeing more of in this City.  It’s also why the building is leasing up so quickly.  The trend for successful food businesses in a city like San Francisco is to be able to serve both walk-in customers and produce food for delivery services, all at low fixed costs. 
Ruyle said the idea for the Aviary from the beginning was to create a unique home for local, entrepreneurial businesses that would serve the neighborhood and beyond, with low start-up costs and at below-market rents. Being free of the burden of heavy upfront costs allows the restaurant operators to enjoy profitability more quickly, versus paying investors or lenders back first for tenant improvements.
The revitalization and construction work at 499 Ellis, a Class-A Historic Structure, took about two years, including preserving and enhancing historic elements. New upper-floor windows damaged over the years required special fabrication to match existing windows, including scalloped mullions that had to be manufactured in Wisconsin. The downstairs space, once cleared of decades worth of debris, revealed high ceilings and arches echoing the building’s 1922 origins.
Its location in the Tenderloin on the same block as Black Cat and is just two blocks from the bustling Geary & Leavenworth area where Redford, Mensho Tokyo, Bandit, Scullery, Barnzu, Resolute Drinks, and Elephant Sushi are situated.
“We are almost fully leased up and are excited to see who will fill the last remaining space in this one-of-a-kind development,” said Ruyle. “This is an innovative, unusual example of how to help facilitate new and locally-responsive retail.”  

About Maven
Maven Properties is one of the most active and creative real estate companies in the San Francisco area. Based in San Francisco, the firm focuses on the leasing of commercial and mixed-use properties, and the sales and acquisition of multi-family and commercial properties in the Bay Area’s close-in markets. From its founding in 2010, it has grown quickly by differentiating itself with an unparalleled network, an intimate familiarity with local neighborhoods and tastes, and a complete real estate experience brought to each assignment. Maven recognizes that all real estate has a value and it is their job to find the right fit for clients in achieving business success.

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