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Eataly: A lively Italian marketplace with restaurants, food and beverage counters, a bakery, and more.
STO Building Group: A family of companies with a client-first mentality that keeps us at the leading edge of construction management. Two separate companies brought together by one common goal: to build amazing spaces.


Govan Brown began their partnership with Eataly in 2015 after John Brown and Tom Mason met with partners from the global Italian marketplace looking to build in downtown Toronto. Challenges are inevitable in any construction project—especially such high-profile, high-finish projects like an Eataly Marketplace. Eataly Toronto was no exception. The three-story building, which opened in November of 2019, is Canada’s first Eataly location. Sitting at the corner of Bay and Bloor in the Manulife Center shopping mall, Eataly Toronto greets its guests with a street-level entrance and an interior crafted with two long passageways. The 50,000 sf building includes a new marketplace, a grocery store, and various bars and restaurants.

“Being able to have their trust and to deliver for them in many different markets with great teams is what I’m most proud of. It’s an amazing and rewarding experience, for sure.”

Tom Mason, Govan Brown

Eataly’s goal is to create an authentic Italian eating experience, so obtaining proprietary Italian equipment is vital. From custom-built wood-burning ovens and bakery equipment to high-end terrazzo flooring, many components are made in Italy and shipped to North America. However, equipment that is designed to European standards doesn’t always perform the same way in North America. The certification process for European equipment combined with the different infrastructure requirements made implementing these proprietary components a challenge. The project team had to work very closely with their European partners and local engineers and subcontractors to work through those conversions to make it work as if it were operating in Italy.

But all challenges come with lessons learned. After the Toronto project, the team prepared a presentation deck and walked through what worked and didn’t work with each STOBG business unit with potential Eataly projects ahead. “After every large project at Govan Brown, we do an after-action review,” says Tom Mason, account manager at Govan Brown. “We tried to be as detailed as possible and highlight many of the lessons learned on Eataly that the Structure Tone London, Southwest, and BCCI teams needed to incorporate to make their builds successful. We find that these sessions are beneficial to both client and construction manager.”


When Structure Tone Southwest began talks with Eataly to take on their new Dallas, Texas location, the project team jumped into research mode. They met with Gensler, the project’s architect, as well as Eataly consultants to ensure the final construction drawings were approved. An additional meeting in New York soon followed to verify the value engineering efforts. “We had quite a bit of education during those meetings,” said Eduardo Linss, project manager at Structure Tone Southwest. “On the visit to New York, we visited their flagship store in the Flatiron District and got a real feel for the flow of the store.”

Eataly Dallas consists of three floors with the markets, various to-go counters, and a pizza and pasta restaurant located on the second floor and a high-end restaurant on the third. The building welcomes guests with street and mall entrances and gives a comfortable yet sophisticated atmosphere with wood seating inside the restaurant areas, including the Gran Bar, a full-service, Italian-themed coffee bar on the first floor.

“Going through the grand opening, to hear the Eataly team say this is the smoothest build they’ve had in Dallas was definitely something I took away with me. It spoke volumes to the level of execution of the team overall.”

Eduardo Linss, Structure Tone Southwest

As Govan Brown passed down their lessons learned, the project team was able to adhere to the level of expectations Eataly sets. Although each store in each market has its own standalone identity, it was important for the team to set a preliminary standard of execution for subcontractors. This ensured everyone was on the same page for the project and the client’s expectations from beginning to end. The Dallas team was able to use the Govan Brown team as a sounding board and talk through potentially challenging scenarios. In turn, Structure Tone Southwest was able to do the same for BCCI Construction. “Everything inside the marketplace has a unique look,” says Linss. “It was an intense project, but it was well organized.”


In London, Structure Tone began working on Eataly’s new location facing two completely different challenges than their peers: COVID-19 and Brexit. Despite the local challenges, the site stayed open throughout the early months of 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brexit proved to be far more problematic during the early part of 2021 where travel and shipping restrictions made life more difficult. Despite the hardships, Nik Quarm, senior project manager at Structure Tone London, sees Eataly London as nothing short of a success, thanks in large part to the information sharing and resources across the STO Building Group team. “The key to successfully delivering Eataly’s first UK store was utilising the benefits gained from STOBG’s global partnership with Eataly,” he says.

“This was a program-driven exercise. Yes, quality is essential, but having a program partnership is just as important and, quite frankly, the key to delivering a project.”

Jack Dixon, Structure Tone London

As the winner of the 2021 Mix Interiors Bar and Leisure award, Structure Tone London and Eataly truly transformed the 42,000 sf building into a vibrant and engaging destination. Located next to Liverpool Street Station, Eataly London welcomed visitors to their grand opening in April of 2021. With colossal revolving entrance doors that lead to the Gran Bar, the London site includes two floors of pizza bars, grab-n-go foot markets, a towering indoor bar area, and an outdoor terrace. The market also offers a variety of quality Italian food products and houses London’s largest Italian wine cellar. “I’m proud of how my team communicated with Eataly, especially with the different cultures, languages, and currencies,” says Jack Dixon, project director at Structure Tone London. “We delivered this project through such difficult times, and I’m especially proud of how Eataly trusted us throughout to deliver a great project.”


In North America, Eataly continues to expand with a new location on the West Coast. BCCI is currently bringing the Italian marketplace to Silicon Valley’s Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, California. Like its sister stores, the space will offer a mix of restaurants, cafés, bars, and to-go counters. After visiting several of the Eataly North America locations, BCCI also went through several lessons learned sessions with both Govan Brown and Structure Tone Southwest. “We went through the project insights they complied on preconstruction and issues they faced with specific subcontractors and processes during the build,” says Dave Herskowitz, senior program director of integrated services at BCCI. “What we learned allowed us to build a schedule and a more informed budget and discuss how to avoid similar challenges with the client.”

“The fact that Govan Brown built in Toronto and Structure Tone Southwest in Dallas gave Eataly confidence to partner with BCCI on the Silicon Valley location and the certainty we would deliver the same level of service in terms of execution, responsiveness, and quality.”

Dave Herskowitz, BCCI Construction

Now three months into construction, BCCI has collaborated with Govan Brown and Structure Tone Southwest frequently to help troubleshoot and think through challenges. “We’ll check in with Govan Brown and Structure Tone Southwest and ask how they solved similar challenges,” says Herskowitz. “I’m also proud of the general willingness and enthusiasm from both teams. They immediately answer whenever we ask a question. They’re happy to jump on a call. It’s amazing to have that level of support and collaboration.”

Herskowitz is also excited about the prospect of supporting Eataly as they begin budgeting and reviewing other Eataly locations on the West Coast. “The collective experience of building the North American Eataly stores is helping shape program strategies for Eataly which can be applied to future builds.”

Originally Published in STOBG Insights Fall 2021

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