Boston Public Market Closer to the Opening of Permanent Space on Greenway

July 11, 2013
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The Boston Public Market that will be located at the Orange Line entrance to the Haymarket MBTA Station has completed a series of major steps toward the opening of a permanent, year-round, self-sustaining market on the Greenway in Boston’s downtown market district.

The Boston Public Market announced last month that it has selected an architect and is nearing agreement with the state on the terms of its lease, an effort led by new Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Morningstar.

“The Public Market will be an exciting new civic gathering place that brings together growers, producers, and customers in a vibrant, diverse downtown market district,” said Morningstar, who previously served in fundraising and management positions in Gov. Deval Patrick’s campaign and administration. “Once up and running, the Boston Public Market will be self-sustaining, providing access to fresh, local, healthy and affordable food for Boston residents of all backgrounds, ethnicities and income levels, as well as educational programming that helps Boston families learn about healthy eating and local agriculture.”

The Boston Public Market is an important part of Patrick’s ongoing efforts to link urban consumers to local farmers and producers throughout Massachusetts. The Boston Public Market currently operates two of the largest and longest running seasonal outdoor farmer’s markets in Boston, on City Hall Plaza and at Dewey Square on the Greenway.

“I’ve been able to build a business selling local meat and poultry to consumers at seasonal outdoor markets, but it’s hard for my loyal customers to find me when I’m in a different place every day,” said Ryan MacKay of Lilac Hedge Farm in Berlin, Mass. “The Boston Public Market will provide a permanent and reliable location for me to sell my local, sustainably raised meats to Massachusetts consumers year-round.”

The Boston Public Market and the Commonwealth are nearing agreement on the terms of an 85-year lease for the Public Market space above the Orange Line entrance to the Haymarket MBTA station. The lease terms include a commitment by the State to invest $4 million as a match to the Boston Public Market’s raising of $4 million in private investment.

The lease terms are reflective of the balanced private and public partnership necessary to create a successful public market. The terms seek to protect the state’s investment and the public’s interest, while at the same time allowing for the stability and independence necessary to attract private investment.

“MassDOT is pleased to be working with the Boston Public Market to bring this exciting project to bear,” said Richard A. Davey, MassDOT Secretary and CEO. “This partnership opens up new and exciting opportunities for the city, its residents and visitors, and we look forward to reaching a deal in the very near future.”

The design of the lease terms highlight important performance measurements and operating standards that both the State and the Boston Public Market deem critical to success, including a commitment to operate with financial transparency, making all records open and available to the public, and to the extent feasible, available on-line. The lease terms commit the Public Market to providing local food products and ensuring accessibility to an economically diverse population.

Once open, the Boston Public Market will support local, sustainable agriculture and the farmers, fishermen and other small businesses who grow and produce food in Massachusetts and New England.

“As chairman of the Public Market Commission, I look forward to our continued partnership with the Boston Public Market Association as we work together to build a market that will showcase the diverse agricultural products in Massachusetts and the region,” said Commissioner Gregory C. Watson of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. “This is an exciting new economic opportunity for farmers, fishermen and specialty food producers and a wonderful chance to educate consumers about the benefits of healthy, fresh, local foods.”

The Public Market will offer an assortment of products through a mix of permanent vendor stalls, temporary, seasonal vendors and more varied, day stall operators. Products will include farm fresh produce; meat, poultry and eggs; cheese and dairy; fish and shellfish; bread and baked goods; flowers; and an assortment of specialty and prepared foods.

“Local, sustainably grown food is healthier and improves both our economy and our environment,” said Andy Kendall, executive director of the Henry P. Kendall Foundation. “Few opportunities in New England compare to the potential of a successful Boston Public Market to raise awareness, interest in, and demand for local and regionally grown and produced food. Comparable cities that have markets like the one envisioned here enjoy millions of customer visits. By accelerating demand, the Market will serve to catalyze local entrepreneurs starting their own food-related small businesses and improve overall access to healthy, local food.”

Architerra, a Boston-based design firm, has been selected as the architect for the Boston Public Market building. In Boston, Architerra has designed Massport’s Cruiseport Boston at the Black Falcon Terminal and the

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Wind Technology Testing Center. Two of Architerra’s designs – Noble and Greenough School’s Castle Project and Cambridge School of Weston’s Garthwaite Center – have been nominated for the Boston Society of Architects Harleston Parker Medal as the most beautiful buildings in the Boston metropolitan area.

“Architerra’s creative team impressed us with their fresh ideas and experience repurposing existing buildings,” said Brian Kinney, chair of the Boston Public Market’s Board of Directors. “With Liz Morningstar on board, an architect selected and lease terms nearing agreement, we are truly on our way to creating a year-round market selling fresh, local food to the people of Boston.”

The Boston Public Market will inhabit 28,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of 136 Blackstone St. on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, along the Orange and Green lines of the MBTA. The City of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Agency are in the process of developing a market district alongside the Greenway, centered around the historic Haymarket.