Feasibility analysis and concept planning
Market Ventures, Inc. conducts feasibility analysis and concept planning for public markets, farmers’ markets, and other innovative economic development projects. Since no two projects are alike, the creative process of creating a successful development concept must be carefully linked to the analytic process of testing feasibility. MVI takes an iterative approach, with market research findings blending with project goals, national experience, site and design opportunities, and economic analysis to create development concepts that meet the client’s financial and programmatic objectives.


Downtown Market Concept Plan and Feasibility Study,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, (2009-12)
grand-rapids1Grand Action, a nonprofit representing the city’s business and philanthropic leadership, has spurred revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids by playing the lead role in developing a successful 12,000 seat entertainment/sports facility, a one-million-square foot convention center, and a full-scale renovation of the historic Civic Theater. In 2009, the organization turned its attention to creating a year-round downtown Downtown Market as part of a regional economic development strategy that links West Michigan’s expanding agricultural sector to the burgeoning demand for local, fresh foods by area residents and tourists. Grand Action retained Market Ventures, Inc. to conduct a feasibility study, identify the site, and develop the concept for this facility.

MVI created an innovative program for the Downtowngrand-rapids2 Market within a complex of six historic warehouses, including 27,000 sf of indoor fresh food retailing, a 60 stall outdoor farmers’ market shed that can expand to accommodate over a hundred farmers, a kitchen incubator program within a 5,000 sf certified commercial kitchen, and dry and cold storage facilities for distribution of locally grown foods to area schools and institutions. The plan also called for rooftop greenhouses (utilizing the heat generated within the Market), 10,000 sf of education and event space, restaurants and other retail, and office space. MVI proposed a professional management staff and partners to run a wide range of educational programming that encourages people to buy, cook, and eat fresh foods.

Through extensive key informant interviews and focus groups, MVI reached out to potential community partners, including area hospitals, schools, government agencies, representatives of ethnic communities, and food system advocates to develop long-term partnerships that maximize the Downtown Market’s impact on the community. The Downtown Market was designed to be the new hub of the local food system.

Market Ventures continued to assist Grand Action during the predevelopment phase. Key tasks included assistance with selecting the design team, development and implementation of an extensive board training program, budget refinement, and fundraising. MVI prepared detailed funding proposals to federal agencies and local and national foundations, helping to secure $16 million in capital support.grand-rapids3

Construction began in January 2012 and the Downtown Market opened in September 2013. During the development phase, MVI helped Grand Action and the new board select the market director, assisted with marketing and branding, and continued to assist with fundraising and partnership development. Among its many awards, the Downtown Market received the 2015 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence and the 2017 National Planning Excellence Award for Economic Planning & Development from the American Planning Association.


Boise Public Market Feasibility Study,
Boise, Idaho (2011)
boise-marketEstablished in 1994, the Capital City Public Market has evolved into a large and successful Saturday morning outdoor farmers’ market located on streets and plazas in the downtown. The City of Boise, along with the Market organization and a new nonprofit called the Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture, retained Market Ventures, Inc. to explore the potential for creating a year-round public market facility in the downtown. This worked included an analysis of supply and demand, identification of potential functions within the facility, and creation of a multi-year financial model that explored economic feasibility.

To better understand current and potential customers, MVI designed and implemented an in-person customer survey and an Internet-based survey. This research, along with key informant interviews, focus groups, site inspections, and analysis of secondary consumer and agricultural data led MVI to propose a mixed-use public market facility that included a winterized market shed, shared food production facilities, and 12,000 sf of market retailing facilities.


Grand Traverse Regional Market/Food Hub Feasibility Study,
Traverse City, MI (2012)
traverseThe Grand Traverse Regional Market is conceived as a professionally managed, multi-function facility that supports the production, retailing, storage, and distribution of locally grown and produced foods. The Regional Market is meant to benefit farmers throughout the region who need infrastructure for food production, year-round direct marketing, and distribution support to meet the needs of local consumers and tourists, and to tap new potential buyers. Moreover, the project seeks to increase availability and access of local foods for low-income area residents, create jobs, encourage education and knowledge sharing, and create a social space for the community.

MVI was hired to conduct a feasibility study for creating a “food hub” within Building 58 of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The building once housed the central commissary of the North Michigan Asylum, feeding 3,500 patients and staff daily. MVI’s scope of services includes market analysis (quantification of supply and demand), assessment of functions, identification of preferred management and operations, financial modeling, and assessment of economic impact.traverse2

Principle study methods include key informant interviews, focus groups of potential facility users, site inspections of regional food offerings, review of relevant reports, secondary data analysis, and pro forma analysis. We explored the full range of potential wholesale buyers for the Regional Market and quantified demand, as well as analyzed the local farm economy and identified needs for food producers. The work included developing a business model and management plan for the facility.

Community Marketplace Economic Feasibility Study,
Fort Collins, Colorado (2010-11)
Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority selected Market Ventures (with subconsultant Brinkman Associates, a local real estate firm) to conduct a professional feasibility study for a new indoor public market. Extensive market research determined that not enough vendors were available for a traditional public market hall. MVI recommended a creative hybrid approach that incorporates a longstanding downtown food co-op as the anchor tenant, which will oversee management of three independent vendors, providing daily fresh food retailing without need for market management oversight. MVI recommended moving a longstanding but stagnate farmers’ market to the new location and creating a flexible building that could provide indoor farmers’ market retail every Saturday year-round. A nonprofit sponsoring organization will oversee the entire Marketplace facility and will operate the farmers’ market and flex building events. This hybrid approach will meet the market’s goals while reducing development risk and reaching profitability by the third year of operation.

Salt Lake City Public Market Feasibility Study,
Salt Lake City, Utah (2007-08; 2011-12)
salt-lakeThe Downtown Alliance of Salt Lake City, which has successfully operated the open-air Saturday Market in Pioneer Park for 15 years, retained Market Ventures, Inc. to conduct a feasibility study for a new, year-round indoor public market at a downtown location. The work plan included research into comparable public markets, market research (including capture rate analysis), vendor analysis, site selection, and financial analysis.

Based on the successful outcome of this study, the Downtown Alliance retained MVI to conduct a Phase 2 study that explored design and development opportunities at the Rio Grande Depot, a historic but underutilized train station one block from the farmers’ market site in Pioneer Park. MVI developed a three-phase strategy that included creating a “winter market” inside the historic train station, constructing two multi-purpose farmers’ market sheds adjacent to the station, and developing a new year-round facility within the emerging Hub District to the west of the train station.

Broome County Regional Farmers’ Market Feasibility Study,
Binghamton, NY (2009)
broomeWhile farmers’ markets have proliferated throughout New York’s Southern Tier region, there are no year-round, permanent facilities to serve the region’s direct marketers or customers. Market Ventures, Inc. was retained by the Broome County Department of Planning and Economic Development to develop a concept plan and explore the feasibility of creating a Regional Farmers’ Market. MVI’s scope of services included market research of supply and demand, competitive analysis, research into comparable facilities around the country, site selection and design description, recommendation of a management structure, and financial analysis. To ensure the facility met the needs of growers, MVI conducted focus groups with farmers throughout the region. MVI determined that the preferred site for the Regional Farmers’ Market was the county’s Otsiningo Park, which could accommodate two covered sheds with space for 72 farmer stalls, plus indoor café and restrooms, with excellent visibility from Interstate I-81.

NYC Wholesale Farmers’ Market Feasibility Study,
New York, New York (2003-2007)

While Greenmarkets have demonstrated the enormous demaNYC-Wholesalend among New York City consumers for locally grown foods purchased directly from farmers, significant barriers at the wholesale level prevent local restaurants, grocers, caterers, and food service institutions from accessing foods grown or produced in New York or adjacent states. To address this problem, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets retained a team led by Market Ventures, Inc. and Karp Resources to study the feasibility of creating a new wholesale farmers’ market or markets in NYC.

In Phase 1, the Market Ventures team identified and surveyed potential buyers among the nearly 20,000 restaurants, retailers, distributors, and other wholesale food purchasers in New York, as well as hundreds of farmers located in the neighboring counties. International examples of wholesale farmers’ markets were studied. Outcomes of the project included quantification of the demand and supply for locally grown foods in New York City, estimates for economic impact, creation of an “ideal model,” and identification of buyer and seller preferences. The team created a web site to enhance communication.

As a result of this work, the Department, again with support from USDA, retained the MVI/Karp team, including Hugh A. Boyd Architects, to lead an in-depth planning process, including site selection, design, financial analysis, and management planning. Two high potential sites were identified – the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market and the Fulton Street Fish Market – and the team received initial support from the cooperatives that run both markets to locate the wholesale farmers’ market there. The Governor of New York identified the NYC wholesale farmers’ market as his top agricultural priority and the state’s FY2009 budget includes $25 million to support its development.

New Haven Public Market Feasibility Study,
New Haven, Connecticut (2006-2007)
Following on the success of their outdoor seasonal farmers’ markets, the nonprofit CitySeed retained Market Ventures, Inc. to explore the feasibility of establishing a new, year-round public market within downtown New Haven. The scope of services included site analysis, market research, concept development, financial analysis, and design concepts. Due to shifting public priorities and lack of suitable sites, MVI guided CitySeed in determining that a public market is not currently feasible. As an alternative, MVI provided recommendations for improving the organization’s principal outdoor farmers’ market.

Battery Maritime Building Market Concept Plan,
New York, New York (2007)

batteryIn association with Karp Resources, Market Ventures, Inc. assisted The Dermot Companies create a food/market concept for the second floor of the historic Battery Maritime Building at Manhattan’s southern edge. Under the guidance of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, this historic ferry terminal is being redeveloped with a boutique hotel and a grand public space within the terminal’s former second floor waiting room. Research activities included focus groups with potential users, demand analysis, and assessment of local competition. The team created a schematic design concept and recruited potential tenants.

Old Police Headquarters Public Market,
San Diego, California (2005)
GMS Realty, LLC, is redeveloping the historic police headquarters building in downtown San Diego on property owned by the Port of San Diego. MVI conducted feasibility analysis and developed the business plan for the public market component of the project, which will feature foods grown and produced in Southern California. The Public Market is expected to serve the growing downtown residential population, consumers from San Diego County, and the city’s strong tourist base. Given the project’s location, a key to the Market’s success was balancing the needs of local residents with tourists in terms of product mix, parking, and accessibility.

New Haven Public Market Feasibility Study,
New Haven, Connecticut (2006-2007)

Following on the success of their outdoor seasonal farmers’ markets, the nonprofit CitySeed retained Market Ventures, Inc. to explore the feasibility of establishing a new, year-round public market within downtown New Haven. The scope of services included site analysis, market research, concept development, financial analysis, and design concepts. Due to shifting public priorities and lack of suitable sites, MVI guided CitySeed in determining that a public market is not currently feasible. As an alternative, MVI provided recommendations for improving the organization’s principal outdoor farmers’ market.

Milwaukee Public Market District,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1999-2002, 2005)
Market Ventures selected the site,developed the concept, and tested the feasibility of a new, year-round indoor market inthe Historic Third Ward of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Located within the Commission Row area, which functioned as a wholesaleproduce market for 100 years, the MilwaukeePublic Market is a new, stand Milwaukee-Vendor-Fish-2alone marketbuilding with 21permanent tenants,plus an outdoor farmers’ market shed located under the highwayoverpass. The public market district includes restaurants and related retail. Construction began in 2004 and the Market opened in October 2005. To support the Market’s opening, MVI provided assistance with marketing and conducted vendor training and post-opening vendor evaluation.

Lancaster Avenue Public Market Feasibility Study,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2004)

The Farmers’ Market Alliance retained Market Ventures, Inc. to analyze the feasibility of establishing a year-round, indoor public market in West Philadelphia at a site to be determined along Lancaster Avenue. The market is envisioned as a place for members of the community to access food produced in the region from independent, owner operated businesses. The task of Market Ventures was to determine the economic feasibility of such a market and to provide recommendations on a merchandising concept and operating guidelines.

Sonoma County Food & Wine Center,
Santa Rosa, California (2000-2002, 2004-2005)

The City of Santa Rosa and a citizen’s planning group named CityVision retained Market Ventures to develop the concept and explore the feasibility of creating a public market district in the city’s historic Rail Road Square District. The plan, which has already attracted $6 million in funding and is moving into implementation, includes a 21,000 sf market hall, outdoor farmers’ market that will accommodate up to 50 farmers, extensive culinary and wine education facilities, a 10,000 sf wine pavilion to highlight Sonoma County as a world class center of wine production, catering facilities to accommodate up to 2,000 guests, Sonoma County tourist information, transportation linkages, and public spaces. In 2004, MVI was retained to update the feasibility study and to provide ongoing guidance with design and development. MVI continues to advise the nonprofit board as the project moves into implementation.

Springfield Public Market,
Springfield, Massachusetts (2000-2003)
Market Ventures analyzed potential sites, created the development concept, and assessed the feasibility of establishing a year-round, indoor public market in downtown Springfield. Farming and specialty food retailing in the region were analyzed and the project team met with potential tenants to assess their interest. Following endorsement by city government, the Springfield Business Development Corporation moved forward with the plan to locate the public market in the former Basketball Hall of Fame building along I-91. The 21,000 square foot layout incorporates 21 vendor stalls featuring foods of the Pioneer Valley.

Portland Public Market,
Portland, Maine (1995-2001)

ppm-aboveAs principal of Public Market Partners, Ted Spitzer led the concept planning and feasibility analysis for the Portland Public Market, a new year-round public market at a site selected by the owner in downtown. Betty Noyce, a wealthy philanthropist interested in economic development, had purchased the former parking lot and was searching for a more active use. Feasibility study tasks included demographic and market research, competitive analysis, tenant mix formulation, the creation of operating pro forma for each market vendor and the market as a whole, conceptual design, and the preparation of a development pro forma and timeline. Market Ventures, Inc. was then retained to oversee all aspects of implementation, including oversight of design, construction, leasing, marketing and operations


Saturday the 25th.
Copyright 2012