You'd think that a city that's been around long before the first Boston Tea Party would have a huge indoor farmers market – like Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle and Milwaukee. Soon, it will if Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's administration gets a proposed project completed.
The new public market would be on the first floor of 136 Blackstone Street, adjacent to the open air Haymarket, MBTA subway and bus stop. Haymarket and the new public market are envisioned to complement one another and generate stronger sales for both.
"This plan gives us a clear set of recommendations to help build a thriving public market in the heart of Boston," says Governor Deval Patrick. "I look forward to seeing the best of Massachusetts agriculture on display at this market."
The $8.5 million market is still in the early development phase, according to Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Scott Soars. But construction is set to begin during third quarter 2011, with a targeted opening date of July 1, 2012. Funding for the project will come from a mix of state, federal and private dollars.
Its 14,000 square foot of rental space is projected to generate an estimated $15.5 million to $19.5 million in annual sales. Once open, it would create up to 200 permanent jobs. It would house 20 to 30 permanent retail stalls, plus 40 to 60 interior and exterior retail day stalls for agricultural and specialty food vendors.
Participating vendors would be locally owned and operated and offer product ingredients sourced to Massachusetts – showcasing the best of Massachusetts agriculture – fresh produce, dairy, meats, seafood, specialty foods and beverages, flowers and more.
Soares envisions it as a destination for quality, local products. And, it would offer extensive year-round community programming, educational events, and entertainment.
"Each year the Massachusetts agricultural industry generates $500 million in Massachusetts," adds the commissioner. "This market will provide another chance for these businesses to reach customers here, saving and creating agricultural jobs, while bringing healthy food to thousands of customers year-round."
To follow the ongoing progress of the public market, visit www.mass.gov/publicmarket or search the Twitter hashtag is #MassPublicMkt.