Charles Chocolates announced that it has signed a 10 year lease with Westfield San Francisco Centre to begin building its flagship retail store and open kitchen. This agreement is the first step in creating the new home for Charles Chocolates' iconic open kitchen in the heart of San Francisco. Construction is scheduled to begin soon with a projected opening in January 2011; the retail portion of the store opens this November. Until then, the Charles Chocolates retail store can be found on the third floor of Westfield San Francisco Centre, Under the Dome.

"We are seeing a resurgence and resilience of manufacturing businesses in the City, particularly artisanal manufacturing," said Mayor Newsom. "Charles Chocolates not only represents the best in the art of chocolate making, but is part of a wave that is bringing manufacturing to the center of innovation and creativity that is San Francisco."

Charles Chocolates created the country's only completely open artisan chocolate kitchen four years ago in Emeryville, CA. Now they've taken what they've learned and are building an even more exciting confection production kitchen in a stunning new location on the fourth floor of Westfield San Francisco Centre, under the historic dome of the former Emporium department store. This concept is a collaboration between Chuck Siegel of Charles Chocolates, EDG Design and Lou Felthouse Architect. The real estate deal was brokered by Carol Gilbert of CGI Real Estate in San Francisco.

"We are excited to begin working on our new flagship retail store and open kitchen," commented Chuck Siegel, founder of Charles Chocolates. "The opportunity to bring the artisan confection making process front and center, allowing everyone who visits the chance to see what goes into creating the chocolates that they are enjoying, is a thrill for all of us."

The final project will be a combination of a confection shop and an open kitchen. The shop will include the complete selection of Charles Chocolates artisan products, handmade ice cream, house-made pastries and an espresso bar. Behind the shop will be a completely glassed in 5,000 square foot commercial confection kitchen which will allow anyone to watch how these confections are made. Upon opening the new space, Charles Chocolates' famous factory tours will once again take you through how their confections are created.

"Locating a chocolate factory in the heart of San Francisco's downtown shopping district will be a unique, imaginative and delicious attraction Under the Dome of Westfield San Francisco Centre," said Heather Almond, Westfield. "Charles' factory tours, cafe and award winning chocolates are the perfect combination of retail, dining and entertainment offerings popular with our guests. We're delighted to be part of a new concept in a city that thrives on fresh ideas."