HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — For the first time, Broad Street Market vendors have a clearer idea of what the temporary space the city is planning could look like.
City officials met with vendors Wednesday afternoon to share some proposed layouts of the temporary structure. These are rough first drafts, but officials say this is a chance for business owners to give some concrete feedback on what does — and does not — work.
It has been a little more than a month since fire tore through the Broad Street Market’s brick building.
“This is so many of our homes, vendors and neighborhood and community folks,” said Andrea Grove, owner of Elementary Coffee. “Customers and people coming in just still want to talk about it, a lot of people are still grieving, a lot of people still processing.”
Since the fire, the goal has been to keep vendors in midtown.
“The energy that is the market happens because we all are here and we’re all present, you can feel that when you’re walking through the market,” Grove said.
Grove has been part of the market for nine years. Right now, she is operating out of nearby business Radish & Rye, a former market vendor.
“Just to be able to kind of have an outpost and a presence in this area because you can’t set up an espresso machine in a courtyard,” Grove said, laughing.
In the meantime, the city has cemented plans to keep business owners together with a temporary tent structure at 3rd and Verbeke streets. That lot is owned by Josh Kessler, who also owns Millworks. He is offering that property for the city and vendors to use while the market gets rebuilt, a process which could take more than two years.
The structure will have H-VAC, running water and sewer, and the city is working on getting the vendors getting everything they need.
“This needed to happen on July 11 and we’re going as fast as we can right now,” city spokesperson Matt Maisel said.
On Wednesday, officials shared a first look with vendors.
“Vendors on each of the two sides plus the back wall,” Maisel described. “There’s some mockup designs of possibly having seating outside.”
The biggest adjustment will be space. The tent is just 5,000 square feet.
“Everyone’s going to have to pitch in a little bit to shrink and downsize,” Maisel said.
Grove already has a little experience with that after figuring out how her business fits in Radish & Rye. She said business owners will likely have to streamline their process and their products.
“What are we known for, what do we do best?” she said.
That is a small price to pay to preserve what the market means to the community
“Everyone can benefit, not just the vendors for their livelihoods, but the people who live in and around the broad street market area,” Maisel said.
Grove added, “Being able to give us a home and give us a place and give us kind of a purpose for the interim, for however long that looks, is just very important.”
The city is still in the process of buying the tent. It will cost $400,000 but that will be covered by insurance.
City officials hope to have a final proposal ready for the space by the weekend. That is also when they hope to get a final answer from vendors on whether they want a space in the tent. The city plans to have the tent up by Labor Day weekend.