Updates on URBANOLOGY

O.C.’s Packing District May Rival S.F.’s Ferry Building

The Packing House

The Packing House

SoCal foodies and retail-istas know The Lab and The Camp. These imaginatively successful anti-malls have taken root in a once-forgotten Costa Mesa triangle. Their shops and restaurants are more genuinely indie and artisanal than in any other development in O.C…. or in L.A.

Now LAB Holding, the brains behind The Lab and The Camp, are back with more amazement, this time in downtown Anaheim. Opening May 31 is The Packing House. This 42,000-square-foot, 1918 Sunkist warehouse has been transformed into a gourmet food hall: a huge, sun-drenched atrium with communal dining surrounded by cafes as well as picnic gardens, orange trees, outdoor fireplace and a building-length dining porch. The Packing House’s public spaces are designed for community events, concerts and movie screenings.

Given LAB Holding’s retail track record and this amazing space, The Packing House may soon rival San Francisco’s Ferry Building, developed by Wilson Meany, a respected magnet for locals and visitors.

The Domain

The Domain

The coolness doesn’t stop there. The Packing House is just one component of the new Anaheim Packing District. At the intersection of Anaheim Blvd and Santa Ana Street, The Packing District includes new Farmer’s Park, more historic structures converted into restaurants (including Umami Burger) and Anaheim’s new residences, The Domain.

The Domain is the residential centerpiece of The Packing District. It pays stylish respect to the classic architecture around it, with lofts, flats, pool deck and rooftop terrace overlooking the Packing House. The Domain just opened its doors and builder Brookfield Residential has nearly sold out the first phase.

One happy new owner is photographer Staci Hart who blogged about The Domain's opening here.

Inside The Packing House, before its May opening

Inside The Packing House, before its May opening

“The Domain completes the excitement of The Packing District,” said Brookfield Residential Senior Marketing Director Mercedes Meserve. “Right next door is, without exaggeration, one of the most innovative and appealing pedestrian and retail environments in Southern California.”

Chris Bennett, director of development for LAB Holdings, repaid the compliment last week when interviewed by the Orange County Register.

“I think [The Packing House] is just an extension of the lifestyle that this is [The Domain’s] backyard,” Bennett said. 

-Jack Skelley