In 2007, City Market underwent a $2.5 million renovation which ran about 6 months longer than anticipated and ended up with many vendors being relocated and half of the businesses leaving. After the renovation, City Market promised a new mix of vendors trying to get the destination to return to its glory days as an open air marketplace with fresh produce and meats. They also promised to stay open in the evenings and on the weekends.
Now, the board that runs the City Market has a new plan. They'll invest $2.7 million on renovations and try to get a new mix of vendors that will return the market to its glory days. They are again promising to be in the evenings and on the weekends.
Francesca Jarosz of the Indianapolis Star reports:
The long-struggling City Market looks particularly drab these days.To read the rest of the article click here.
Several vendor booths sit empty in the historic Downtown Indianapolis building. Visitors are underwhelmed by the dull gray of the floors and support beams. And by 3 p.m., workers at the market are packing to go home after serving a mostly lunchtime crowd.
But by next spring, city leaders say, all of that will be different.
Wednesday, the market's board presented plans for a $2.7 million renovation that would revamp its design with new colors, vendor stands and lighting. It also would demolish the market's west wing and make the main building self-sufficient by adding restrooms, a new heating and cooling system and elevators.
The renovation, funded by property tax revenues captured from a Downtown development district, is the first major step in the city's latest effort to revive a venue that has struggled for decades to attract customers and become financially self-sufficient.
It comes after a tumultuous year in which the market evicted its former anchor tenant and had to seek city help to get its bank accounts unfrozen.
"We hit an all-time low," said Wayne Schmidt, president of the market's board. "We're rebuilding from that point."
As part of the rebirth, market leaders also will add daily live music and entertainment, extend hours into the evening and launch a new brewery serving beer by the glass and for carry-out.
Moving current tenants from the building's wings and attracting new ones also will help fill the main building and add options for customers.
A bakery moved in this month, and a pretzel vendor is expected in June, while talks with several other potential tenants, including a soup shop and a produce stand, continue.
"I need this to be a destination point," Mayor Greg Ballard said Wednesday. "You have to have the sorts of amenities that people want to gather around."
I remember when Moody's Meats opened a stand in the City Market after the 2007 renovation. What did they expect - people who work in the City-County Building were going to buy an uncooked slab of meat to take back to their home and then haul home to cook later that evening? Obviously that didn't happen and Moody's failed to catch on at the City Market.
I remember in business classes being told the importance of doing market research before opening up a business. Why is it that we have a government body, the City Market Board that thinks it can best gauge what business model will succeed in the building? I like history more than just about anyone, but it is time to give up on the idea that the City Market will ever go back to being an open air marketplace where people will shop from fresh meat and produce. The model doesn't work. Let's find a business model that will work for the building and stop pining for the past.