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$3 million renovation of Fulton Street Farmers Market unveiled

/Lott3Metz Architecture

Underwriting support from:


/Lott3Metz Architecture

/Lott3Metz Architecture

For over 80 years the Fulton Street Farmers Market has brought locally grown produce and homemade items to the heart of Grand Rapids. Last Tuesday the association unveiled an estimated $3 million renovation of the market that will improve vendor conditions and customer experience. 


The new designs include a 2,000-square-foot building, which will house 8-12 vendor stalls year round. The enclosed building will also contain the market manager’s office and wheelchair accessible restrooms. Diagrams and artists renderings suggest that the building will feature a “green” roof (covered with living plants) and multiple energy-producing wind turbines. Most of the area currently containing vendor stalls will have a permanent roof to improve conditions for vendors and customers in all weather. There will be a net increase of about 10 percent in the number of stalls but stall space will remain the same. The parking spaces have been reconfigured for better traffic flow but total parking spaces should also remain the same. 


The project is scheduled to break ground in November 2011 and be completed before the market’s opening in the spring of 2012, but it will not interfere with the market’s regular season. The design and all construction will be done by local firms, including Lott3Metz Architecture


“This has been a public planning process since day one,” said project manager Christine Helms-Maletic, of CHM Consulting LLC, which was hired by the Midtown Neighborhood Association to work on the project. “We started on this in 2005.”


Helms-Maletic said that a capital campaign will be launched in May and some major donors are hoped to contribute. 


Any given Saturday the market may see up to 6,000 shoppers.


“The market brings fresh produce into the city for people who might not have access otherwise and it is as much a social event and community gathering as a shopping trip," said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. 


The market has meant a lot to members of the Grand Rapids community for generations. David Frey, Co-chair of Grand Action, which originated the grant for the project, has a story about coming to the market with his mother and grandmother in the late 1940s.


“This was when they were still selling baby rabbits and chickens at the market,” Frey said.

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