Things are finally cookin’ at Fulton Commons.
The kitchen incubator at 1546 Fulton Street in Manchester is now open with 32 dedicated prep spaces, coworking facilities and more.
Producers, bakers, prepared meal companies and caterers who sign up for a $650 month-to-month membership will also have access to commercial cooking equipment, dry and refrigerated storage, cleaning supplies, internet, meeting space and additional items to support their growth. Members who operate food trucks will have a place to dump grey water, stock up on water and ice and perform vehicle maintenance.
“This can be a great resource for the community as we bounce back from Covid,” co-owner Irwin Mendelssohn says. “Opening a food business is a costly proposition. It involves long-term leases, upfront construction costs and purchasing the equipment. We provide all of those things you want to have in place without thinking about it.”
Mendelssohn and his brother Brian are principals of Botero Development, a local firm focused on residential, retail, office and mixed-used projects.
Several years ago, they bought the old Saint Joseph School and transformed the 19,000-square-foot building into a beautiful space where local entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations could thrive. The site mixes old-school charm with modern amenities. Most of the furniture is vintage and many pieces were salvaged from local schools and universities.
In addition to the kitchen incubator, there are 32 private offices of varying sizes, 15 fixed desks, large, communal areas, 11 artist spaces and a professional photography studio. Fulton Commons was slated to open last March, but the pandemic delayed those plans. The co-working space, which has been reconfigured to adhere to social distancing guidelines, debuted in June.
Post-Covid, the brothers plan to host educational and social events at Fulton Commons that bring people together across different membership types. Experts will provide insight on running a business, from marketing and bookkeeping to legalese. At the outdoor plaza, there will be farmers’ markets and festivals the entire neighborhood can enjoy.
“We want to foster a community,” Irwin Mendelssohn says. “A chef can hire a web designer or a photographer; an artist can host an event and hire a caterer; members can work together and complement each other.”
The Mendelssohns also are working on another communal project that’s now in the construction phase. Lawrenceville Market House, a former bank building at 4112 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, will be divided into nine business stations of varying sizes, including one located in the bank vault. Companies can rent a station on a month-to-month basis and customize their section, which will have its own lockable storefront.
A coffee and donut shop, run by the Mendelssohns, will be a permanent fixture and feature outdoor seating. A family-friendly restaurant and bar, planned for the lower level, will offer an array of menu items at accessible price points.