Why E. Washington?
After years of discussion and research around the ideal Market location, the final home for the Market is at the corner of E. Washington Ave. and First Street. The East Washington Plaza (formerly, the Fiore Shopping Center) will be demolished and, in partnership with a private developer, a new mixed-use project that includes the Market will be built on that site.
Some have asked how this location rose to the top of the choices considered by the City. There are several reasons why this location is excellent.
- Revitalization: There is much opportunity to transform the under-utilized corridor between E. Washington Ave., Fordem, and Maple Bluff. This area has long been neglected, yet it’s a main connection to the airport and a gateway to the Capitol.
- Space for large vehicles and vital infrastructure: A public market needs ample space for large trucks and a loading dock. This location has the necessary space to make loading and unloading efficient and safe.
- Room to grow: Creating the Public Market space is Phase I of a larger plan. Once the Market is built, Phase II will focus on building a much-needed wholesale, distribution, and production facility to support the ever-growing demand for local produce and prepared food. Phase II will be built on the neighboring property currently housing the City’s Fleet Services Building.
- Accessibility to the airport, the Interstate, the Capitol Square and University of Wisconsin: This location is easily accessible from the Airport and I39/90 for out-of-towners. Many will likely see the Market as they drive into Madison. The Market is also on the Isthmus and on a major bus, bicycle, and car transportation corridor, making it easily accessed.
- Affordability: The affordable nature of the property will keep total project costs down compared to building downtown or on the near west side. Because the City already owns the neighboring Fleet Services property, the land for Phase II development will be an affordable addition.
Some have suggested this location may not attract downtown business and tourist opportunities as it’s a few blocks away from the Capitol Square. Instead, it is our belief that the distance between the Public Market and the Square is becoming shorter every day. Development along the East Washington Avenue corridor is proceeding at a rapid pace, offering high-rise apartments, entertainment venues, restaurants and retail opportunities. We believe the Public Market will soon become and extension of the shopping and entertainment district that surrounds the Capitol. The iconic nature of the this project makes us believe that connections to downtown can be created and enhanced.