The long-anticipated opening of Chinatown’s massive food emporium is finally within reach: China Live, a 30,000-square-foot market hall at 644 and 660 Broadway, will arrive in January.

Originally set to open early this year, the project was delayed due to labor scarcity and a slowdown in the process of producing the space’s custom furniture, which is made from reclaimed northern elm. The project also necessitated the importation of hundreds of specialty ingredients from China.

But now things are back on track, and next year will see the opening Chinatown’s newest food and cultural destination.

The concept is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo George Chen and Cindy Wong-Chen, both longtime restaurateurs in the city. Chen previously opened the James Beard Award-nominated Betelnut in San Francisco and the Shanghai 1930 restaurant. But China Live is his biggest project yet.

The $20 million emporium will span four floors of the fully leased eight-floor building owned by Cypress Properties.

The multifaceted emporium includes a retail marketplace with more than 1,500 specialty Chinese and Asian food and cookware items; a 36-seat curated tea parlor; and a 150-seat casual restaurant with a rotating menu. Chen will run the fine-dining restaurant Eight Tables on the second floor, an eight-table restaurant serving a seasonal 12-course Chinese tasting menu for $200 a person.

The second floor will also include a speakeasy-like lounge called the Gold Mountain Lounge, which will have a hidden door.

The third floor will house a 200-person event space, and the rooftop will become another bar, set to open nine months to a year after the rest of the space.

“China Live is a one-of-a-kind culinary destination,” Chen said in a statement. “The work we have done has been highly complex in terms of design, with the construction of multiple floors, curating a line-up of artisanal culinary products and carefully sourcing ingredients locally as well as throughout Asia. We are almost at the finish line and look forward to providing unprecedented access to Chinese gastronomy in time to celebrate Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rooster – this January.”

The project is part of a revitalization of Chinatown. The building also houses several film organizations and the basement is occupied by the immersive theater company, Speakeasy. Down the street, the Michelin-starred Mr. Jiu’s opened earlier this year. – San Francisco Business Times (11.14.16)