North Market Development Authority board members could determine in December whether to move forward with a second market in Dublin's Bridge Park District, according to executive director Rick Wolfe.

The market authority, which is the organization that manages the North Market in Columbus, needs to make a decision by the end of the year, Wolfe said, and the board's final meeting is in the first week of December.

In order to move forward with the market in Bridge Park, the market authority would need to partner with Crawford Hoying, Bridge Park's developer, Wolfe said.

The North Market Development Authority is considering the management of a nonprofit market, seven days a week on the ground floor of the Block D parking garage, which is slated to open in spring 2020 on Longshore Street between Tuller Ridge and John Shields Parkway.

"This is a big overtaking for us," Wolfe said.

Wolfe said he's working now on a structure that would allow the authority to accomodate the addition of a second market.

Among the changes would be adding some staff members to oversee the Dublin venture.

The market authority would have more ability to incubate and support local and independent business, he said, if it were to manage a second market.

If everything moves forward, the Dublin market could be open in spring 2020, said Matt Starr, Crawford Hoying development director.

The market would cost about $5 million to build, and Crawford Hoying would go forward with the market instead of the grocery-store concept originally proposed there, Starr said.

Crawford Hoying would need to secure an architect to design the market's interior, Starr said.

The developer is also working with the market authority to determine its scope of services and compensation, he said.

The market would have about 18 to 24 vendors, featuring artisans primarily focused on fresh foods, Starr said. Vendors are already contacting Crawford Hoying, he said.

"We want to pick the best of the best and have a diverse lineup," he said.

Although the market reportedly would not require direct financial support from Dublin, the financing method proposed by Crawford Hoying required modifying the Bridge Park development agreement with the city and Crawford Hoying, according to a Sept. 20 memo to Dublin City Council.

The original agreement allowed Dublin to receive excess cash flow after Crawford Hoying paid off debt service and established funding reserves associated with Bridge Park, Starr said.

Crawford Hoying had proposed that any cash remaining after establishing reserve funding should go toward prepaying the bond principal for the Block D garage, associated streets and the construction of the market.

Those items are projected to require a $32 million bond issue, he said.

Dublin City Council members Oct. 22 unanimously approved the economic agreement revision.

The economic development agreement between the city and Crawford Hoying was modified to account for a number of assumptions that have changed between 2015, when the Bridge Park Development was just a concept, and now, said Angel Mumma, Dublin's director of finance.

One aspect of the modifications allows the revenue generated in Block D to be used to accelerate the debt payment on a portion of the Bridge Park Community Facilities and public roadways, Mumma said.

"This modification is likely to result in the city receiving an increased amount of revenue due to the debt service being paid off sooner," Mumma said.

Any funds received by the city through the revenue generated by the development, specifically tax-increment-finance-district revenues and Bridge Park New Community Authority charges must be used for expenses that benefit the Bridge Street District in some way, she said.

In addition to discussing the details of the economic agreement, council also revisited the possible effect a market could have on businesses in the Historic District.

Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel told council after speaking with several owners and managers of food and beverage establishments in the Historic District, he felt confident they had "guarded optimism" about the proposed market in Dublin.

The reason why some businesses were guarded, McDaniel said, is because they were concerned about the saturation rate of their respective markets.

Still, he said his conversations validated the tenacity of the businesses in the Historic District.

The city should continue to support the Historic District as it would any neighborhood within the city, said Councilwoman Jane Fox, as well as supporting the fledgling neighborhood of the Bridge Street District.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

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