Monday, August 10, 2015

Farmers' Market Makeover Begins


~ Sheds to be re-purposed for other uses ~

Demolition crews will begin removal today of the sheds at the 17th St. Market (Farmers’ Market) in the first phase of planned improvements to open up the space into an expanded public market. The work is part of the Shockoe Bottom Revitalization Strategy – a process which included public engagement and recommended removal of the existing sheds to position the space as an open urban square conducive to flexible programming.

The City’s Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) has engaged Pryor Hauling, Inc., for the removal of the sheds. While fencing will be placed around the project site, no streets are scheduled for closure during the shed removals. Existing produce vendors at the 17th Street Market will be moved to the Main Street side of the market where they can continue to set up stands. Plans include salvaging and re-purposing the sheds, which will be coordinated by Enrichmond.


The Shockoe Bottom Revitalization Strategy was commissioned by the City of Richmond in 2010 to provide a strategic framework for revitalization actions. A charette (Public Workshop) was convened, as well as stakeholder interviews and a developer symposium in 2010/2011. Recommendations for the existing under-performing market included developing the space into a functioning urban square. A new public market ties in well to core identity themes for Shockoe of food, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and history. Plans include a combination of spaces that includes a permanent structure housing a year round public market of food, crafts and other items; outdoor or open areas serving as an expansion area for seasonal markets (farmers market, holiday market), programmed activities and events; and space for any administrative or small business development activities associated with the market.


As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Richmond, Shockoe has evolved from a river commerce center, to an industrial complex, to today’s reviving urban housing and entertainment district. Both the recent Downtown Plan and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy build on this momentum, setting direction for future development in Shockoe. Current initiatives including the Slave Trail and Lumpkin's Jail Pavilion, enhanced rail service, improvements to the historic Main Street Station Multimodal Transportation/Travel and Welcome Center, and planning for increased arts and cultural attractions all outline the promise and potential of Shockoe for Richmond.


The initial work on the 17th Street Market is expected to take two to four weeks to complete. All the sheds, with the exception of the middle bay and the end bays on Franklin and Main Streets, will be removed. During the next phase, ECD will seek proposals to manage, operate and brand the 17th Street Market.