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The City Market also hopes to benefit from more parking at its new location, says Dan Young, a former bison vendor at the 104 St. locale and now the City Market’s operations and governance consultant, noting there are 1,000 free parking stalls around the new location.
The 60,000 square-foot GWG building (owned by Five Oaks Inc. developer Gene Dub and leased to the City of Edmonton) has been undergoing renovations in preparation for the City Market’s arrival. By the May long weekend, when the market opens, there will be vendor space inside on the first floor. Plus, giant, garage-style windows will open on to 103 Ave., which will be blocked off for merchants. Organizers, construction workers and sellers alike are “scrambling,” to get things in order, says Young, pointing out that the market only received its lease in mid-March.
Later, the second floor of the building will hold more market booths and the third and fourth floor will feature “other opportunities” for vendors and programming. Young has been meeting with folks in the Arts District to co-ordinate events, including a presence for the Citadel’s Dickens festival around Christmas.
“We had a high tea with the Art of Cake and invited the Arts District here, including the Citadel and the museum and the Downtown Business Association, with the idea of saying, ‘How can we work together to program and to make this an exciting entertainment experience?’ ” says Young.
Young hopes the City Market, which attracted some 18,000 shoppers weekly at the height of the season on 104 St., will give a boost to Boyle Street, a part of town known primarily for poverty. The city of Edmonton is installing a new park nearby to spruce things up. Young has met with Boyle Street community leaders and there are plans to hire locals to help keep the area clean.
At peak season, Young expects 150 to 200 vendors to display their wares. In the future, the market may expand to open Fridays, or just Friday nights.
“The city (of Edmonton) is open to that,” says Young. “This is a huge change of thinking for our outdoor vendors; they are dying for something indoors that’s not wet and damp. This building has lots of room to store tents and things like that … The ease of setup is a lot easier for them.”
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