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A food hall is coming to Doral. Yes, there will be social distancing

Despite concerns about food service in the age of social distancing, Shoma Group plans to open a new food hall in Doral by late 2020. The food hall is expected to serve pent up demand for those craving collective experiences, even if they will have to remain six feet apart.

The Coral Gables-based development firm expects to open its $4.5 million, 14,000-square-foot food hall Shoma Bazaar in November, said the firm’s president and chairman Masoud Shojaee. The food hall will open on the ground floor of the firm’s new rental building Sanctuary at Doral, located along Northwest 41st St. and Northwest 94th Ave. It will have 15 vendors.

COVID-19 is not expected to delay construction or the opening date, said John Hart, head of operations for Shoma Bazaar. But the seating arrangements in certain areas will be rearranged to allow for social distancing, said chief marketing officer Stephanie Shojaee.

“We hope that when this passes everybody is going to want to be out and together,” Hart said.

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The food hall will operate from morning to dusk. It will be divided into six “zones,” Hart said, including a breakfast cafe, Asian hall with Ramen, Korean barbecue, sushi and an American section with burgers, pizza, ice cream and hot dogs.

Eight stalls are already leased to vendors offering sushi , Persian and Italian cuisines. “Some are well known in the Wynwood area. We are bringing some others from out of state. That makes this different [from other food halls],” the developer said.

One of the new-to-market vendors includes an ice cream and doughnut shop based in California, the developer said. He plans to announce the names of the vendors in two weeks.

“This is going to be bringing people from Miami to Doral,” said Rizzy Byckovas of R&B Architecture and Interior Design. Shoma hired Byckovas to design Shoma Bazaar.

Leasing is moving forward as planned, the developer said.

“As of today, everything is normal. Everything is going as planned. We keep on negotiating and signing new vendors,” Masoud said. “Same as residential. We already have interest for our units. We haven’t seen any effect from the virus as of today.”

Residential leases start in June for Sanctuary at Doral. Each of the two buildings stands six stories tall and includes a total of 27,000 square feet of retail. Each tower has 226 units. Each building is about 13,500 square feet with a total 27,000 square feet of retail space on the site. Units range from one to three bedrooms, measuring 769 to 1,409 square feet.

The developer faces an unrelated challenge in the months ahead. A trust representing Shojaee’s daughter, Lilibet and Anelise, is suing him, claiming he used trust funds to for personal use, according to the Real Deal. His lawyer has denied the claims, and Masoud declined to comment.

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