The nonprofit organization that manages the North Market in Columbus is considering operating a similar market in Dublin's Bridge Street District.
Crawford Hoying, the firm developing the Bridge Park area in Dublin wants the North Market Development Authority to operate a nonprofit market seven days a week on the ground floor of the Block D parking garage, said Matt Starr, Crawford Hoying development director.
That garage, slated to open in spring of 2020, is on Longshore Street, between Tuller Ridge and John Shields Parkway.
"We've always wanted Bridge Park to be something different and unique," Starr said.
Bridge Park is a massive commercial, retail and residential development in Dublin on 30 acres along the Scioto River, north of state Route 161.
North Market Development Authority executive director Rick Wolfe said the organization is interested in partnering with Dublin and Crawford Hoying on the market.
"It's a civic resource more than anything, and Crawford Hoying understands that," Wolfe said.
The location wouldn't take patrons away from the North Market because it doesn't draw many visitors from the far northwest area of Franklin County, Wolfe said.
"So far it feels like a really good fit," he said.
The cost to construct the market would be about $5 million, and Crawford Hoying would go forward with the market instead of the grocery-store concept originally proposed there, Starr said.
Although the market reportedly would not require direct financial support from Dublin, the financing method proposed by Crawford Hoying would require modifying the Bridge Park development agreement with the city and Crawford Hoying, according to a Sept. 20 memo to Dublin City Council.
As it stands, the agreement allows Dublin to receive excess cash flow after Crawford Hoying pays off debt service and establishes funding reserves associated with Bridge Park, Starr said.
Crawford Hoying is proposing 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.
Crawford Hoying also is proposing a sales tax of up to 0.5 percent for businesses within the boundaries of Bridge Park that are subject to the state sales tax, Starr said.
A seven-member community-authority board associated with Bridge Park financing would have to approve the tax, which would be a piggyback to the county sales tax. That board, called New Community Authority, includes three members from Crawford Hoying and four members from Dublin.
The tax wouldn't be levied until 2020 and would be enacted to provide enough revenue to pay off bonds associated with the market, Starr said. Construction costs for the Block D garage have risen rapidly and necessitate the use of the sales tax to offset costs, he said.
The market, meanwhile, should generate enough revenue to pay for its annual operation, Starr said.
Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel said he wants to be able to answer council members’ questions raised during the Sept. 24 meeting before council meets again Oct. 8.
One concern raised was the possible effect a market could have on businesses in the Historic District.
Whereas the market is a creative concept that could work well in the area, Councilwoman Christina Alutto said, she wants to make sure it doesn't create unintended consequences or collateral damage to businesses west of the Scioto River.
Dublin Vice Mayor Chris Amorose Groomes said she also wants to avoid creating difficulty for existing Dublin businesses. The question of where to locate the market is also an important one, she said.
McDaniel said a similar-size building as the Block D garage doesn't exist on the west side of the river. Someone would have to build it, and that would be an expensive endeavor.
The city's view, McDaniel said, is that a market would build upon the success of the farmers market that already operates in the Bridge Street District.
Whereas the city doesn't want to do anything that would drive away business – and conversation should be around that point – the market could enhance connectivity between the east and west sides of the river, he said.
City officials remain committed to Dublin’s commercial success on both sides of the river -- old and new, he said.
If not for public and private partnerships between the city and developers, the Town Center I and II, which were built in 2000, and BriHigh, which was built in 2008, likely would not have developed, he said.
A market would be a wonderful opportunity for the city, said Historic District Business Association president Rick Gerber.
However, council members and business-association board members should look at the community-reinvestment act for Dublin's downtown and other ideas to see how to improve the Historic District's economic vitality of the area, he said.
This summer, for varying reasons, eight businesses in the Historic District closed, Gerber said.
He said he received a pair of calls from business-association members who had expressed concerns about whether the proposed Bridge Street market would harm their businesses.
"We're still digesting this," Gerber said.