PROVIDENCE — When Providence’s Union Station was built in 1898, it consisted of 14 intercity rail lines that were the hub of southeastern New England’s transportation network for nearly a century, supporting machinery, textile, and jewelry industries that fueled Rhode Island’s future.
As a nod to Union Station’s earliest days, Marsella Development Corporation president Christopher J. Marsella announced on Wednesday that a food hall his firm has been developing on the old station’s ground levels will be named “Track 15.″ The food hall has been in development for more than two years and will highlight local chefs and concepts.
“This is a pivotal point in the development of Track 15,” said Marsella. “Providence has been on the cutting edge of culinary innovation, and we hope to add to that rich history with Track 15.”
A long-vacant space that once housed the city’s original Capital Grille, Raphael’s, and more recently, Bar Louie, Marsella said the food hall is a chance to offer a unique experience that will bring some of the state’s most celebrated culinary talent under the same roof.
Track 15′s first offerings will include a new concept from Dune Brothers; regional Mexican cuisine from chef Maria Meza and her family at Dolores; burgers and more from There There; and two Italian concepts from Kevin O’Donnell, chef and owner of Giusto and Mother Pizzeria in Newport.
O’Donnell said “Giusto PVD” will serve homemade pastas highlighting ingredients from Rhode Island’s farmers. A new pizza parlor, “Mother Pizzeria PVD” will serve specials using local stone-ground flour for sourdough pizzas.
Nick Gillespie, the chef and co-owner of Dune Brothers, will offer classics like lobster rolls, fish and chips, and fish sandwiches. But co-owner Monica Gillespie said they’ll also introduce some new items for a new raw bar at Track 15.
Matthias Kiehm, a principal at MK Global Hospitality, is serving as a senior consultant on the project. He’s spent more than 25 years in hospitality, and much of that time working in directorial roles at the prestigious Harrods in London, and at Four Seasons Hotels. After establishing MK Global Hospitality Group, he spearheaded the concept development through the opening of the TimeOut Food & Cultural Markets in Chicago and Boston, as well as The ‘Quin House in Boston.
Working on the Track 15 project “has taken us on a journey through Rhode Island’s culinary world and has really opened our eyes to the incredible talent and diversity that exists in this state,” said Kiehm.
Plans for the food hall were first announced in March 2021, and it was expected to open in the summer of 2022. The Capital Center Commission approved Marsella’s plans in April 2022. Over the last year and a half, the project has faced some changes and challenges.
In April, Marsella Development representatives told the Globe that the company planned to finish the project by spring 2024. But that timeline has also been pushed back again to “late-summer 2024.”
Marsella said he has faced supply chain issues and the “typical” hurdles that come with renovating a historic building. Interior demolition has been completed, he said. Rhode Island-based Vision 3 is the architect on the project, and Boston-based CM&B is the construction management firm.
The redevelopment team has bridged “the past of Providence to current day and beyond,” said Brandon Teachout, the chef and owner of There, There. “This approach is very similar to how we craft our burgers and sandwiches at There, There — keeping the food objectively familiar but pushing the product forward with proper technique and a ton of respect for history.”
The overall development will represent a $22 million investment in the restoration of the historic building. When the project is complete, it will include a large central bar, a new home for seven Rhode Island-based restaurateurs, an entertainment venue, and a 10,000-square foot plaza that will provide space for special events and outdoor seating.
“Rhode Island’s hospitality industry is going through an exciting time, and Track 15 is going to play an important role in changing the course of both hospitality and tourism,” said Teachout.