Year-round public market in the Hudson building readies for June start

The public market in the Hudson building is expected to open in early June — about a month and a half later than planned — and organizers continue to assemble merchants for the year-round indoor operation.

Twelve vendors have signed three-year contracts, while eight have one-year contracts in the 18,000-square-foot space, the Victoria Public Market Society said Friday.

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Just over 70 per cent of the space — once the ground floor of the Hudson’s Bay department store on Douglas Street, between Herald and Fisgard — is leased. Market organizers hope to fill the remaining spots with a butcher and other food-related businesses.

Opening day was originally set for mid-April, but that forecast, made in November, might have been ambitious, said market general manager Maryanne Carmack.

“It’s a huge project with lots of people involved,” Carmack said. “We have been working to get the right [businesses] in place.”

Victoria’s first year-round indoor market is modelled after popular hubs such as the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco, the Atwater Market in Montreal and London’s Borough Market.

Vendors on three- to five-year contracts are paying $35 a square foot while kiosk operators are paying $1,200 a month. Eight tables will be available to farmers at $40 a day.

Crews are working inside the cavernous space, which has a mezzanine area overlooking a polished concrete floor. The historic pillars, familiar to shoppers at the old Bay store, are being refurbished, but market officials say not to expect anything fancy. “It’s a really open, industrial feel,” Carmack said.

Vendors include Del McLean’s Green Grocer, which will carry a year-round supply of local produce, Wildfire Bakery, Silk Road Tea and Salt Spring Island Cheese.

There is also a sweet and savoury pie shop, a Mexican food kiosk featuring fresh churros and hot chocolate, a spice shop, a seafood store and outlets from some of the region’s most respected chefs and restaurateurs.

Sources said a deal with Rogers’ Chocolates is also close, but organizers said a contract had not yet been signed.

The food-focused public market will also feature a community kitchen in the centre of the space and an open-air farmers’ market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Seating will be scattered around the vendors.

The market has set hours from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 to 5 p.m. on Sundays, and closed on Mondays.

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