PPS’ public markets team has just returned from Boston and is excited to announce that it has begun creating an implementation plan for the first floor of Parcel 7, a MassDOT-owned building that is slated to house a public market. Both local residents and vendors are energized by the decision to re-purpose Parcel 7 into a marketplace that will promote regional food, support the New England economy and foster social integration.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway borders Parcel 7, which can be seen to in the background on the right.

The process for creating this indoor market began over a decade ago, and in 2008 PPS conducted a feasibility study to determine if there could be an expanded market district in the section of Boston adjacent to the Haymarket and City Hall.  Now that MassDOT and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) are moving forward with the development of Parcel 7, PPS has been selected to create a conceptual guide for the market.

While in Boston last week, the PPS team held a focus group to begin assessing consumers’ needs and preferences.  Attendees were asked about their shopping habits and were shown a number of photos of existing markets around the world to gauge their responses.  PPS will likely hold public meetings during future site visits in order to receive additional input, which will help make the public market a vibrant destination that balances the needs of downtown residents and workers with those of tourists and people living in nearby neighborhoods and surrounding towns.

Now that the public market project is officially underway, PPS will begin constructing a framework for its management, design and product offerings.  Among other tasks, the markets team will:

  • Propose an operational and governance structure suited to the market’s distinct needs
  • Plan the physical design of the market, incorporating gathering spaces into the layout
  • Interview local producers and vendors to better understand their operational needs and plan for the market’s possible product mix.

A number of key factors position the Boston Public Market to be an anchor destination (much needed) along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, such as its proximity to Faneuil Hall, the Haymarket, and multiple subway stops.  Although the project has just begun, PPS is optimistic that it will further enliven an already popular district by strengthening the social and economic capital of the surrounding area.