Amped Kitchens, based in Lincoln Heights, renovates long-vacant buildings into multi-tenant commercial kitchen complexes and offers permit-ready, private commercial kitchen spaces.
Amped Kitchens leases spaces ranging from has 50 square feet to 5,000 square feet.
So far, the company has forged its model in Los Angeles and Chicago, where it renovated a defunct Zenith factory.
In Los Angeles, Amped Kitchens has facilities at 1230 W. Ave. 26 in Lincoln Heights and 6130 S. Avalon Blvd. in South Los Angeles. Each site features a 50,000-square-foot converted warehouse.
“We saw too many good food businesses fail to keep up with growth and demand. With Amped’s growing real estate niche, we have shown how to provide production companies a simpler, more streamlined way to expand,” said Mott Smith, co-owner of the company. “Amped continues to expand across the country while renovating community eyesores.”
What Amped Kitchens provides is the ability for companies to scale without being tied into a 10-year lease. The plug-and-play kitchens offer time and capital savings as opposed to building out a space. Each facility offers ample cold and dry storage, packaging rooms, manned shipping docks, office space, and meeting and tasting rooms.
“We really wanted to create a for-profit company that would help elevate businesses,” said Smith, who formed the company with Brian Albert.
After hearing a chef complain about the lack of auxiliary space, the pair were inspired to create what would eventually become Amped Kitchens.
“If you want to create social change, you should do it and make it profitable. If you can crack that nut, a lot of people will come aboard,” Smith said.
Smith and Albert purchased a 1940s-era warehouse, formerly used by a noodle company, in Lincoln Heights.
“We bought it back in 2014 and opened it in 2015,” Smith said. “At the time we bought it, it was part of the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan. It eliminated parking requirements in the CASSP zone. The CASSP allowed us to do the adaptive reuse without going through a two-year, multi-thousand dollar process.”
Originally named L.A. Prep, Smith and Albert changed the venture’s name to Amped Kitchens in 2019.
At the Lincoln Heights facility, there are some 50 companies occupying 54 kitchens.
“Some companies are renting multiple spaces,” Smith said.
He added that Amped Kitchens has helped fill a void in the middle of the food industry.
“When we opened, we thought we were a solution for people coming out of the hourly kitchen,” Smith said. “We were surprised to find it’s a mix from everyone from Mom and Pops to international corporations.
“Every space is an individual manufacturing plant,” Smith added. “We have quite a few tenants who are in the meal-subscription business. We have a few companies doing food deliveries, ghost kitchen-type work.”
Past tenants have included Beyond Meat, which worked on its burger product at the Lincoln Heights facility.
The sites can accommodate large-scale transportation. The L.A. north facility gets 60 to 80 trucks a day.
The second Amped Kitchens site, on Avalon Boulevard, is bigger than the original Lincoln Heights site with 62 spaces in a converted warehouse that once belonged to the Carnation milk company.
Each site provides 200 to 300 jobs.
“Half of our tenants are minority-owned businesses and 42% are women-owned businesses,” Smith said.
Smith said he is proud of what he and Albert are contributing through their venture.
“Brian and I are huge believers in the soul of Los Angeles,” Smith said. “We believe that there is so much wisdom, so much talent in this community.”
For many, Smith said, there are roadblocks to entering the food business, something Amped Kitchens’ spaces help combat.