Mesa approves $1.6M property deal to serve up ‘restaurant incubator’

May 17, 2022, 10:45 AM | Updated: 1:20 pm

(Unsplash Photo; Screenshot/Google Maps)...

(Unsplash Photo; Screenshot/Google Maps)

(Unsplash Photo; Screenshot/Google Maps)

PHOENIX – The Mesa City Council moved forward with plans to create a place where chefs and restaurant operators can learn the business.

The council approved a resolution at Monday’s meeting to buy a building at Main Street and MacDonald to be home to the Downtown Restaurant Incubator. The property was purchased for $1.6 million using federal COVID-19 relief funding.

The East Valley city partnered with small-business nonprofit Local First Arizona to manage, program and run the incubator of potentially five to seven restaurants, a Mesa official told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Jeff McVay of the city managers office said the site would have a space for a large commercial kitchen and commissary, classrooms/meeting area, offices and a food hall open to the public.

“Priority will be given to applicants whose restaurant or food business was negatively impacted by COVID-19,” McVay added.

McVay and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona presented the idea to the council in November.

He also said at the meeting the project addressed the pandemic’s impact on small businesses and made funding from the American Rescue Plan Act available for use.

The building, which is next door to the Nile Theater, has been vacant since Catholics Books and Gifts closed more than five years ago.

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Mesa approves $1.6M property deal to serve up ‘restaurant incubator’