City Unveils Draft Public Market Business Plan

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 9:59am

The City of Madison this week released the first draft of the business plan for the Madison Public Market. The release follows three years of research, analysis, listening and planning with City staff, the Project for Public Spaces, local stakeholders and residents and the City’s Local Food Committee.

The plan outlines options for a public market that would repurpose the City’s aging Fleet Services garage at the intersection of 1st Street and Johnson, to create a flexible, multi-use Public Market. The business plan details the potential capital cost, operating plan, mix of vendors, rent structures, economic impacts, and long-term oversight plan for the Public Market.

Project for Public Spaces consultants note that Madison is the Midwest’s epicenter for local food – leading the country with its extensive network of farmers markets, including the largest in the country, strong membership in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, many restaurants sourcing directly from local producers, a burgeoning wholesale local food hub, a new shared-use commercial kitchen, and thriving food cooperatives. A public market in Madison has the potential to be a great success for local farmers and producers. More importantly, it can be a new, extraordinary destination for City residents.

"I am pleased that our consultant team put together a thorough report that demonstrates a strong concept for the Madison Public Market," said Mayor Paul Soglin. "This is a major step forward for the project and is yet another indication of the strong interest, both from the public and private sectors, in investment in our local and regional food system. We look forward to hearing from the community as the final plan is developed."

Mayor Soglin also noted, "Similar ventures in other cities received significant grants as investments from State governments who recognized the regional economic value."

Over the next few months, City staff will present this draft to the community and Common Council members to get feedback and ideas. This ongoing community dialogue will focus on the draft business plan and, more importantly, will begin discussing the process and priorities as the project moves from the planning stage to implementation. This includes evaluating the business plan through the lens of the City’s Racial Equity Tool and continuing to strategize how the public market can be the first step in a broader "market district" that supports business opportunities and strengthens the food system throughout the community.

The City is hosting two upcoming meetings to discuss the business plan. There will be a community meeting on May 26 at 6:30pm at the Goodman Community Center for neighbors, stakeholders, and anyone interested in the project. There will be a vendor meeting June 3 at 6:30pm, also at the Goodman Community Center to discuss the business plan with vendors/tenants interested in operating within the market.

The full business plan report can be found at This website also includes links to RSVP for the upcoming meetings, an email list subscription box to sign up for project updates, and an input page to submit comments and ideas.


  • Dan Kennelly608-267-1968