RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – Hatch Kitchen and Lynx Ventures are partnering to bring a new food hall to the Manchester area.

That new food hall will bring jobs to restaurant owners and food opportunities to those living and working around the Manchester area, but it won’t include groceries, something area residents say is a big need.

By spring of this year, this construction site will turn into this 85-hundred square foot food hall in Manchester called Hatch Local.

“This is a big opportunity,” said Lynx Ventures development partner John Gregory.

Gregory says it’s an opportunity for restaurant owners to start anew amid the pandemic.

“For the ability for young and upcoming talent to get a start to avoid all those barriers to entry for a new business, that’s what we’re excited about,” he said.

In addition to seven local food vendors, it’ll have a coffee bar, cocktail bar and a small market.

But many in the area, like student Carmen Canino, say the one thing that should be a priority instead is a grocery store.

“There’s literally only like a gas station and an expensive grocery store like a few miles away,” Canino said.

One couple passing through the neighborhood agreed, telling 8News the closest grocery store is at least 15 minutes away.

Gregory says there has been talk of adding one in the area, but it would require a national grocery store company to pitch in.

“They have just moved slowly as a part of their development process. Manchester’s been growing so quickly, I think they just haven’t had time to catch up,” he said.

Gregory says the new food hall could be an opportunity to bring more people to the area, and possibly, a new grocery store in the future.

“I think that this kind of experience and drawing people to the area is a big step toward that,” Gregory said.

Lynx Ventures is finishing up the design stage now and construction on the food hall should finish in May.

Hatch Kitchen officials say they recognize the need for a grocery store in the area and are working to make the prices of food in the food hall’s market affordable.

Hatch Local is a part of The Current, a mixed-use development, that when construction is complete, will house a public parking garage, hundreds of apartments, 70,000 sq. feet of office space and 16,000 sq. feet of retail space.