Proposal For Public Food Market
Developer & Operator
Parcel 7 Boston, MA — Component I
Boston Public Market Association
Friday March 2, 2012
Dear Commissioner Soares,
Two and a half centuries ago, downtown Boston featured a year-round marketplace; Faneuil Hall, built by Peter Faneuil in 1742 as a gift to the city. Bustling and chockablock with butchers, fishmongers, merchants, and farmers, Faneuil Hall became a civic institution where some of the country’s greatest orators, including George Washington, Samuel Adams, and Susan B. Anthony, spoke. Trade flourished, and a spacious new adjunct, Quincy Market, was erected in the early 1800s. The complex remained vital well into the 20th century, before falling into disrepair in the 1950s as food buying habits changed.
The Boston Public Market Association proposes to restore and renew the tradition of our city’s market district by creating a central urban showcase featuring the best food from Massachusetts. This new, downtown Market will connect consumers of all means with the people who produce the food they eat, and educate shoppers on how easy and delicious it is to cook with fresh ingredients. This vital amenity will help make Boston a livelier and healthier place.
Boston is an ideal setting for a public market. Our dense, vibrant city is located in the heart of a remarkable food-producing region. Some of the world’s best seafood, cheeses, baked goods, produce, meats, dairy products, and specialty foods come from within just a few hours of Boston. Yet, because area food producers lack a year-round outlet in the region’s population and economic center, they lose out on tens of millions of dollars in potential sales annually. The Boston Public Market will reconnect our urban and rural communities, and thereby keep local food sales dollars circulating within the Commonwealth. And because it is a low overhead, community focused nonprofit, the BPMA is uniquely positioned to maximize the revenues that the Public Market can generate for its vendors.
The Boston Public Market is poised to become a national model for eating well, enhancing public health, and promoting regional food sustainability. The BPMA has displayed an unwavering commitment to this project for the past decade. Our team is strategically organized around three areas of expertise – food production, distribution, and sales; complex real estate development; and in major capital campaigns. We are therefore enormously pleased to submit our proposal for designation as the Commonwealth’s Parcel 7 Public Food Market developer and operator.
Very Truly Yours,
Table of Contents
Mission and Philosophy 3
Proposer Team 4
Leasing Entity 4
Other Team Members 5
Market Proposal 7
Public Education 19
Permitting & Approval 22
Financial Proposal 23
Rent to MassDOT 24
Alternative Financing 25
Mission and Philosophy
The mission of the Boston Public Market Association is to create a permanent, year-round market in downtown Boston providing the public with the best in fresh, healthy food from local growers and producers. Specific BPMA goals in connection with the Public Market project include promoting local economic development, creating a prominent new urban amenity for Boston, and furthering critical public health, food access, and sustainability goals, as follows:
Economic Development: Massachusetts farmers struggle to compete with low-cost agribusiness growers in other states for commercial grocery sales. Given limited wholesale opportunities, it is the farm stand, farmers market, and CSA (community supported agriculture) that keep Massachusetts agriculture viable. Massachusetts in fact leads the nation in the percentage of farm income derived from direct sales to consumers.
The Boston Public Market will offer local food producers – and their customers – an unprecedented new, year-round retail outlet in the region’s economic and population center. Public markets in peer cities see approximately six million customer visits annually. We anticipate that the Public Market sales will total approximately $30 million per year, assuming that sales across the Market’s approximately 15,000 square feet of net retail space achieve the $2,000/square foot level reached in North America’s strongest public markets. The Market’s vitality will create retail employment on-site, as well as additional jobs out in the farm fields, on fishing boats, and in many specialty food kitchens, to satisfy the demand generated for Bay State goods.
The Public Market will also serve as an incubator for new food businesses. The BPMA will partner with The Boston Beer Company’s Brewing the American Dream (“BTAD”) program, which provides startup food and beverage entrepreneurs with financing, professional coaching, and marketing and branding assistance. The BPMA will lease 1-3 Public Market stalls at all times to selected BTAD vendors, for lease terms of a limited duration. By hosting a regularly changing mix of vendors in the BTAD portfolio, the BPMA intends to ensure a consistently fresh presence of new, innovative food producers on-site. And by providing BTAD vendors with the kind of high-volume consumer exposure that the Market will make possible, BPMA will help nurture the next local food/beverage success stories.
New Boston Amenity: The Boston Public Market will be a leading, not-for-profit, civic institution in Boston, and a landmark public amenity on the Greenway. The Market will bring together and showcase our region’s incredible bounty, and thereby support Boston’s growing recognition as a culinary center.
The Market will feature seafood landed in Massachusetts; local artisan cheese; wines and craft beer; standard and heirloom produce; old-world bakers; many kinds of locally-ranched poultry and meats; a wide range of dairy products; traditional syrups, honeys, and jams; and many specialty food products such as pastas, sauces, chocolates, and the like. The Market therefore will provide value that is differentiated from but complementary to existing local food markets, such as the Haymarket Pushcart Market and the eventual vendor(s) in the Parcel 9 development. The Boston Public Market will also be a place where many ethnicities find culturally relevant foods.
Public Health, Food Access, and Sustainability: The prominence of processed foods in our national diet and the decline of home cooking have had many negative consequences for public health. The BPMA will partner with the Tufts School of Nutrition on a community anti-obesity initiative. We will also collaborate with The Boston Food Bank, The Food Project, Project Bread, and several community health centers, including those in the North End and at South Cove, on public health outreach. We additionally expect to work closely with The Boston Foundation on food accessibility and nutrition issues.
The BPMA is committed to ensuring accessibility and an atmosphere of welcome to consumers at all income levels. The BPMA accepts WIC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP), and Boston Bounty Bucks payments at its seasonal markets. By engaging in coordinated outreach to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and veterans’ facilities, we have been able to generate strong year-over-year gains in our EBT transactions. We will aim to increase this category of sales dramatically within the permanent Parcel 7 Public Market.
Public Education: The Public Market will engage and educate its consumers in food literacy – the knowledge of food sources, nutrition, preparation, and economics – through direct interaction between producers and consumers, educational programs, and community outreach. A demonstration kitchen will be a key amenity within the Public Market space. There, local chefs, cookbook authors, and other culinary experts will teach consumers and special visitors (e.g., students at Boston, Cambridge, and other area public schools) to use the fresh foods on sale at the Market to create easy, delicious, and healthy meals. Our programs will inspire, inform, and encourage children to seniors to understand and appreciate the value of nutritious food, its provenance, the labor required to produce it and the skills to prepare it, and the important role it plays in our daily well-being. This facility will truly be the heart and soul of the Market.
Relationship between the Nature of the BPMA Entity and Public Market Goals: The BMPA will create and sustain a financially viable and economically self-sufficient Boston Public Market. A conventional, for-profit food retailer, such as a grocer, buys at wholesale from food producers. The BPMA, in contract, will enable its Public Market vendors to sell at retail, and thereby achieve relatively high margins. As a nonprofit business, the BPMA will not need to repay equity investors or make a profit. Because such costs will not be incorporated into Market tenant rents, the BPMA will be able to provide vendors with a relatively low-cost, retail berth downtown. This approach will allow sales revenue to leave the Market hall and filter back into the infrastructure, public programs, and agricultural and fishery communities of Massachusetts.