One of the biggest recent boons to California’s growing cottage food industry is L.A. Prep, a highly anticipated Lincoln Heights warehouse space that’s been converted into more than 50 commercial prep zones for home cooks and bakers looking to make the next leap forward. After more than a year of red tape wrangling and construction, L.A. Prep officially opens today.
The 56,000 square foot space was built by L.A.'s Civic Enterprise Development team, and is meant to be a functional mix of personal kitchen and community areas. Workers can lease their own space for whatever project they have in mind, like producing artisanal semolina pastas or canning or bread making, while sharing walk-in space and other communal kitchen access. Rent isn’t cheap of course, but for lots of home goods makers it’s the only way to grow beyond the four walls of their personal kitchen and into a larger retail market.
Places likes these are commonly known as food incubators, though L.A. Prep styles itself as more of a place for mid-level companies who already have a small foothold in the market, and want to take the next step forward. As a result, the space comes fully coded by the city and will feature a USDA inspector for any of the butchers on site. Anyone leasing space on site also has access to L.A. Prep's cadre of business professionals and advice-givers, who can help navigate all of the behind-the-scenes paperwork (tenants work to earn their own permitting from the L.A. County Department of Public Health).
With 54 commercial kitchens available, L.A. Prep is now allowing those who have already signed leases to move on in, and are 50% leased. They hope to be maxed out on production space in short order, given the rise in local demand for handmade, local products.
230 W. Avenue 26
Los Angeles, CA