A year-round downtown public market is moving closer to its April 2013 opening target after a successful meeting this week between its non-profit organizer and the building's landlord.
"Things are moving forward in a really good manner," Phillipe Lucas, chairman of the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society, said this week.
If all goes smoothly, the market will open in a 18,000-square-foot space in the Hudson building, bordered by Douglas, Fisgard and Herald streets.
While seasonal downtown markets are popular, a permanent public market in the city's core has been talked about for decades in various locations but has never been established.
Supporters of the concept point to the success of the Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver and the Lonsdale Quay Market in North Vancouver.
Like those markets, the Victoria market will feature a wide range of offerings such as baked goods, fresh seafood, a green grocer and a butcher, Lucas said.
Bistro tables and counter seating will give patrons the chance to sit down for lunch or snack or they can take out meals. Local restaurateurs have expressed interest in the space, he said.
Permanent, part-time and seasonal vendors will all have a place in the market.
Lucas said he met this week in Vancouver with Townline, the building's developer, and reached agreement on square-foot costs to vendors. Anticipated hours are 9: 30 a.m. to 6: 30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday from 9: 30 a.m. to 5 p.m., he said.
Successful vendors could graduate from smaller to larger and more permanent spots in the market. The smallest permanent area would cover about 500 square feet, Lucas said.
Vendors who have expressed interest will be contacted in the next 10 days, Lucas said. The aim is to have agreements signed by Nov. 3.
Interest has come from potential vendors on Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, he said.
Names of possible vendors and square foot costs are not being released at this time.
The 40,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space in the Hudson is close to full. Dr. John Poon and Associates, Inner Harbour Optometry, has set up in the building, which also houses Olive the Senses, Design House Salon, Hudson Yoga, 2% Jazz Coffee Roastery, Smoken Bones Cookshack and the Royal Bank.
Businesses in the Hudson have built-in customers in the 152 condominium units in the Hudson. Town-line is also building Hudson Mews, a 120-unit, 12-storey rental tower, the first of three towers to be built next to the Hudson.
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