Photo: Wesley Reaves (Foursquare)
While I believe the Ix Art Park is the best location for The Charlottesville City Market, I think we should also consider the Kim’s Market property on Cherry Avenue as a backup option. Kim’s Market is currently for lease and desperate for rehabilitation.
The future home of the City Market is unknown since Keith Woodard yanked his $80 million dollar development project from Water Street this summer due to friction with City Hall. Woodard’s plans called for the City Market to be the flagship tenant of his new development.
Because the future of our beloved City Market is up in the air, I am allocating some of my team’s manpower to brain-storming new ideas, new venues and new strategies that will take our City Market from good to the best one on the East Coast.
I have made convincing arguments in favor of Ix Art Park as the venue of choice, but in the following commentary, I’d like to analyze why the Kim’s Market property could be an excellent option.
HERE’S WHY THIS COULD BE A GOOD IDEA:
(1). Kim’s Market is centrally located, offers plenty of parking and could even offer a vast indoor space to use during inclement weather or colder months. While the current condition of the Kim’s Market building is poor, there is potential for an inside ecosystem of local food, crafts, music and vendors. With an inside component, perhaps the City Market could host a fish market and a local butcher.
(2). Along with Tonsler Park, Kim’s Market is the primary focal point as you enter Fifeville down Cherry Avenue. Whoever develops the Kim’s Market building, parking lot and land will have a HUGE SAY in the future of Fifeville and The Cherry Avenue corridor. If Kim’s Market evolves into a three-level parking lot or a couple of University of Virginia buildings or some $600,000 two-bedroom condos, the current folks who live in Fifeville will be ROYALLY SCREWED.
If parking and parking decks become the priority in Fifeville and along Cherry Avenue to accommodate The UVa Machine, then the neighborhood is in big-time trouble. Adding hundreds or thousands of vehicles to Fifeville and Cherry Avenue will not only cripple infrastructure, it will demoralize neighborhood morale.
(3). If we position The City Market on the Kim’s property, we will then create an ecosystem of vendors and customers who will be committed to making this parcel the best it could possibly be. That means a continued focus on improving the entryway to Fifeville. I think this is important because the current Kim’s Market property leaves a lot to be desired.
(4). If we position The City Market on the Kim’s property, we can create an ecosystem that can preserve the authenticity of the neighborhood while respecting and honoring its current residents. The City Market could showcase Fifeville and Cherry Avenue entrepreneurs and small businesses.
(5). If we position The City Market on the Kim’s property, we could also integrate Tonsler Park into the mix. Tonsler Park is one of my favorite parks in CVille. I would love to see families enjoy the City Market at Kim’s Market and then walk over to Tonsler Park where they can enjoy the breakfast or lunch they just purchased.
(6). Many vendors at The City Market sell local and organic produce, meat, fruit and bread. This food is the best kind of food to eat because of the nutritional benefits. The Fifeville residents can walk to The City Market where they can purchase the healthiest food possible. This could have a generational impact on the neighborhood. Think about it!
(7). If we position The City Market on the Kim’s property, perhaps we could create a “Food Truck Courtyard” similar to what you see in Richmond, Virginia. This food truck courtyard could feature the many entrepreneurial chefs in and around Charlottesville.
Friends, these are some ideas to get the conversation started. My mind is constantly racing and thinking about ways to improve Charlottesville, Virginia.
That’s my entire goal: I want to leave CVille in a better place than when I first arrived here in August of 2000. #iLoveCVille
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Jerry Miller, CEO & Publisher
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