The Future of Findlay Market

Update: The bullets are not indenting as they should. Please excuse the monotonous appearance.

Today’s Enquirer includes this article about Findlay Market by Laura Baverman. In it we learn the following:

  • Parking plan
    1. To be presented to the city of Cincinnati within one year
    2. Will include proposal to replace the four-story 1930s building at 1634 Central Parkway with a garage
    3. Will suggest strategies for residential parking, should the upper floors of 22 buildings facing the market square be redeveloped
Map of Findlay Market showing market and existing parking in yellow and proposed parking garage at 1634 Central Parkway in pink:
    • Market expansion
      • Partnership with 3CDC
        • “Earlier this month, the corporation partnered with the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. to collect bids for the build-out of five spaces in buildings facing the square. They plan to go before the city with a funding request.”
      • Globe Furniture building
        • “…will continue the grant-funded renovation of the former Globe Furniture building on the northwest corner of Elder and Elm streets, and expects to lure retail and offices there.”
Globe Furniture building in Google Street View:
  • Proposals to grow the local food economy
    • Establish the “Findlay Market Farm and Food Partnership, a collaboration between local farmers, food-oriented businesses and consumers.” The Partnership would:
      • “explore the feasibility of building a fruit and vegetable aggregation and distribution system at Findlay, in which farmers and food manufacturers could package foods for retail and wholesale distribution.”
      • “help determine whether the market could operate a commercial kitchen, for use by local chefs or food vendors.”
    • “Grants also could help the market set up a produce auction, in which farmers provide items at wholesale prices several days a week to local chefs and food service providers.”
  • Private contributions important

Please donate to the Findlay Market Fund

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15 Responses to “The Future of Findlay Market”
  1. This whole thing about parking at Findlay Market is interesting to me. The parking lots there are woefully underused, not overused. The only time in which people have difficulty parking is on Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays), but even at those times there tends to be on-street parking available nearby. The problem is that people have grown accustomed to the convenient parking available just north of the market.

    Even in your aerial image you can see that while the north parking lot is packed, the others are all less than half full. So it makes me wonder what value there will be to stick a parking garage further away than all of the other surface parking and on-street parking that people do not fully utilize. In order to capitalize on shoppers’ behaviors I would place a parking garage on the site of the north parking lot, if you are going to build one at all. The next best option would be to build a parking garage over the lot immediately to the west which gets the second highest use.

    With all of that said, I would rather the City and Corporation of Findlay Market use the millions of dollars they plan to use for a new parking garage to instead invest in the Cincinnati Streetcar or in rundown buildings immediately surrounding the market.

    • Seth says:

      I agree, and I’m not convinced that the demo is even worth it either. The problem with building on an existing lot is what to do while it’s under construction.

      I’m sure there’s more to the story too.

  2. Bill Landeck says:

    I have to agree with Randy on his assessment of the parking situation; and I’m not against putting some more money into the buildings around the market. How ever one thing I would like to see, is some refrigeration equipment for the outdoor produce vendors. That would result in a substantial increase in the quality of produce offered. Many people I know who shop at the Market, buy only meat, cheese, and other items that can not be spoiled by the hot sun.

    • Seth says:

      Bill, good point about the refrigeration. I’m probably most excited about the plans to expand the market’s offerings. One would think that it’s only a matter of time until there’s outdoor refrigeration.

  3. Completely off-topic, and unrealistic, but it would be amazing if Cincinnati State would relocate its Midwest Culinary Institute into a building around Findlay Market. The Findlay Market area could become a destination district that is all about food. Shop, eat, learn, watch and experience all in one consolidated district.

    Findlay Market already operates as a testing ground for new talent. When those talents prove themselves they ofter move on to more permanent ventures. So why not bring culinary students into the mix as well. I’m sure the guys at Skirtz & Johnston and Fresh Table would love the idea.

  4. Seth says:

    You know, that’s actually the direction Findlay Market would be wise to take. It’s already a huge asset with a great reputation and a relationship with Cincinnati State would be nothing but symbiotic if the details could be worked out. The move of the New Prospect Baptist Church has opened up 9 buildings on Elm and additional parking in the short term and if the market continues to grow steadily, then something like what you suggested might be come to fruition.

    The more I think about it the more I think this idea should be on the market’s radar.

    The Farm/Food Partnership and the auction really excite me since they would bolster Findlay’s position as a driver of Cincinnati’s local food economy.

    • neilworms says:

      Didn’t 3CDC say just a few months ago that they weren’t focusing on North of Liberty? Hmmm…

      As to the parking garages, Cincinnati again doesn’t get it, lets demolish a building instead of getting rid of a surface parking lot. The building would make amazing lofts if done right and could increase residential presence. Maybe the city could actually get creative for once and reuse the old factory as a parking lot if its possible (I really could see it happening, look at the shape of the building, and I’m sure the floors are open plans with the biggest issue being any kind of environmental cleanup that would be needed to be done.

      • Seth says:

        I wouldn’t call this “focusing on North of Liberty”…it’s just some help orchestrating the build-out of five spaces. I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come though…even though they’re really busy as is.

        I’d much rather replace a parking lot with a garage than a building, but the economics of the area seems to put a premium on parking and a discount on empty buildings. We’ll have to wait and see what the plan looks like.

  5. Billy Wayne says:

    More and more farmers are leaving due to increased charges. Half of Elder street is a flea market this year. Less and less local farm fresh produce. Even under the “farm shed,” you are more likely to find flowers or banana bread then fresh picked produce. The stands that are there all week are ok, but sell the same produce as Kroger and just as old. Maybe they could use some of this money to subsidize the farmers instead of running them off to Bellvue and Oxford. How much could it be? I also agree that parking is fine if you are willing to walk a block or two.

  6. 5chw4r7z says:

    This is the perfect time for Findlay Market and the city to begin educating people on alternate forms of transport. I biked in Saturday morning past a line of cars stretching from the market to Liberty St on Elm. Instead of spending millions on parking lots, how about people who ride in and lockup their bikes, hand them tickets to daily drawings? heck, give them a gift certificate usable anywhere in the market, it’d have to be cheaper, the market only gets 800,000 visitors a year, if everyone of them rode a bike, how awesome would that be?

  7. CityKin says:

    I call BS on the following statements from market management in the Enquirer article:

    ” Its market house is nearly 100 percent full, up from 47 percent occupancy when the corporation took over management of the facility in 2000″

    ““A garage is a higher and best use for the property.”

    “… four existing urban gardens, in which about 25 farmers selling at the market grow crops.”

    “rents increased for farmers by 30 percent this year, it won’t be enough to overcome the expected shortfall”

    a market this size can only pay for so many full time managers. Maybe they are top-heavy.

    • catherine comello stehlin says:

      Exactly. Total BS.

      There is a huge hole filled with picnic tables that is at least three stands worth long on the Elm street half and Ms. Helen’s is empty. In 2000 there were many more vendors at smaller stands. Now they simply made many of the stalls 2 and 3 times as big and are calling it “full’. Which would be one thing if they charged equally for the spaces but they don’t.

      I do not understand the focus on parking. There is parking everywhere around the market. It is a perception problem. What is the point of an urban market if you destroy the urban fabric surrounding it? Push the streetcar, biking, walking, bus, whatever. Why feed into the suburban mentality that parking trumps all other uses?

      I have not been able to clearly identify who is selling the produce from the gardens surrounding the market or where. I am there every week. There is one table identified as the “Eco-garden” but that is over by Rothenberg. There are not 25 farmers total at the market. If they are working in shifts, each taking one week a year, maybe, but still they have been pretty damn discrete. I have not seen them.

      Why doesn’t the management seek to fund their salaries through grants, foundations and private donations instead of on the backs of the farmers who make the market relevant for all the spin they are generating? How many managers do they have? It used to be one or two guys at the city. What are we gaining when we axe producers and add managers?

  8. 5chw4r7z says:

    “What is the point of an urban market if you destroy the urban fabric surrounding it? ”

    We talked about this all weekend.
    And could I add what is the cost of adding vendors for the sake of adding vendors?
    The current managers are doing a poor job at Findlay.

  9. Schmiez says:

    Why not just set up valet?

    Everyone is dancing around it; most who come in are scared to park any more than 150 feet away. Put valet in. Heck let a charity run it. or proceeds to FM.

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  1. […] on the market roof, plus waste reduction and new energy-efficient lighting. And as efforts stir to expand Findlay Market and improve its surroundings, it appears that Ohio’s oldest market is poised for a bright […]



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