Future “Downtown Market” Gains National Attention

Grand Rapids Downtown Market was recently featured in the New York Times.

The 30 million dollar investment will give budding entrepreneurs a place to sell their produce.

Developers hope the idea of revitalization will trickle over to surrounding buildings and attract more people to the region.

The work is far from complete, but in a matter of months the construction site at the corner of Ionia and Wealthy Avenue SW will soon be the new market.

It will house 2 to 3 dozen entrepreneurs.

“These are farmers who are bringing their products to this facility directly to sell to the consumer, so there’s no intermediary in this particular case,” David Frey, Co-Chair of Grand Action said.

Frey says it’s an indoor-outdoor farmer’s market. The indoor portion will be open year round, while the outdoor stretch will open from May to September, with spaces designated to sell of an array of produce.

“Agriculture in this state is a very big deal. It’s the second largest economic driver in the state of Michigan. We have very very successful regional farmers within a 10 or 12 county area,”

Frey says the market will need 30 to 40 people to keep it running. That’s new jobs coming to the area.

“This is maintenance, management, leasing agents and so on and so forth, but the catalytic effect will be hundreds of jobs.”

That includes construction for the market and other nearby building projects.

Frey says the market’s location is essential.   Nearby buildings that have been vacant for decades will be turned into apartments. Several hundred apartments are expected to pop up. The Baker building is being renovated now.

“It’s gonna be a very high energy place. It’s gonna make the city more attractive, more attractive for people to come here, stay here, visit here. For tourist, whether it’s business or just leisure,” Frey said.

He added, “So, this is the right place at the right time. It’s going to be a terrific economic pile driver for the city. We are very excited about it. Trust me, very excited.”

The Downtown Market is scheduled to open up shop this May.

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5 comments

  • Dean

    wait they spent $30 million to build a place for farmers to sell produce? The economics of that just don't make sense. Did anyone consider how much produce would need to be sold to pay that off? It will never happen. It would be a safe bet to assume that it was another government funded waste of taxpayer money.

  • Dean

    in correction to my above post- at least some of the money was from private foundation, " Grand Action, a nonprofit group of local business leaders that joined the city’s Downtown Development Authority to raise money for the market and to build it." Does anyone know how much was private vs. public?