Construction Update – May 2024

According to the City of Madison Department of Engineering staff, renovations for the Madison Public Market are proceeding on time and without unexpected surprises. At this time, 99% of concrete work has been completed, which involved removing and replacing the cement floors throughout the 45,000 sq. ft. building. The floors needed to be removed to accommodate plumbing, sewer lines and other essential components. Daniels Construction has completed the elevator shaft (first floor to mezzanine), and the back lot is now ready for re-paving. We are still on track for an opening in early Summer, 2025.

Madison Public Market Foundation, TruStage and supporters celebrate Equity Through Entrepreneurship, highlighting the first MPM Vendors

Media Release | February 20, 2024

Madison, WI — The Madison Public Market Foundation and TruStage hosted a special gathering on February 20, 5-7 p.m. at TruStage (5910 Mineral Point Road) to bring Public Market donors, volunteers, diverse vendors, local officials, and other supporters together in celebration of the Madison Public Market moving forward to a Spring 2025 opening. The first four confirmed vendors of the Public Market will provide a variety of multicultural fare and talk about their businesses with attendees. This is the first time the Madison Public Market Foundation has hosted a large gathering to highlight the initial confirmed vendors and experience the equity and cultural connection that the Public Market will offer.

“For two decades, thousands of people from across Madison have played an important role in shaping the vision and actively supporting the development of the Public Market. The Madison Public Market Foundation is grateful for the continued community commitment to the project, and we appreciate our partner TruStage for helping us make the Market a reality,” said Karen Crossley, Madison Public Market Foundation Board President.

TruStage, the Madison Public Market Foundation’s largest private donor, graciously agreed to host and sponsor the celebration. TruStage provided a foundational gift to support the creation of TruStage MarketReady Hall inside the Madison Public Market. The vision for TruStage MarketReady Hall is to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship through shared food production space and a community event hall. TruStage MarketReady Hall will provide affordable access to commercial food-processing equipment and culturally-relevant entrepreneurial trainings, where diverse entrepreneurs can grow their products.

“At TruStage we are committed to making a brighter financial future accessible to everyone,” said TruStage President and CEO, Terrance Williams. “Many entrepreneurs dream of scaling up their business but face insurmountable barriers when dealing with the high cost to access commercial kitchen facilities. The TruStage MarketReady Hall will help remove that barrier to entry and could help diverse founders who access the hall begin the journey of building generational wealth.”

The Madison Public Market Foundation will make two exciting announcements at 5:40pm. First, the Foundation will announce the hiring process for the Madison Public Market’s first Executive Director. This key position will lead the Madison Public Market to a successful opening and beyond. More information can be found at

Second, the Madison Public Market will unveil its new Equity Through Entrepreneurship Program to support new and early-stage diverse entrepreneurs who wish to be a permanent or temporary vendor within the Public Market. Learning from the highly successful MarketReady entrepreneurial training pilot program, the Equity Through Entrepreneurship Program will reduce barriers to entrepreneurship that underrepresented small businesses may face. Key components of the program include:

  • Invest in vendor selection in diverse communities 1) purchase paid advertisements in diverse and multicultural media 2) continue partnerships with diverse chamber of commerce organizations and other community partners
  • Decrease financial barriers 1) offer grants to provide rent subsidy during the first 12 months 2) offer grants to assist with build-out costs 3) establish a revolving loan fund
  • Connect entrepreneurs with resources 1) offer culturally relevant trainings and mentorship 2) provide translating services 3) create key operating technology systems within the Market that are easily accessible and support all vendors

By launching the Equity Through Entrepreneurship Program and concentrating on the success of small diverse businesses, more entrepreneurs will build their financial futures, and the variety of businesses, offerings, and price points within the Madison Public Market will enable people from all backgrounds and cultures to feel welcome, represented, and that they belong. To implement the Equity Through Entrepreneurship Program, the Madison Public Market must raise $1,000,000 by the end of 2024. Already $425,000 has been raised towards the goal.

Construction well underway at the Public Market

Demolition and construction at the future Madison Public Market began in earnest late in October of 2023. Since then, much progress has been made, as these photos suggest. Lots of work is necessary to renovate this former Fleet Service building, operated since the 1950’s by the City of Madison. Daniels Construction is the contractor selected by the City to make the Market a reality. The Market is slated to open in May 2025.


Public Market Groundbreaking Event Celebrates Construction Start

A crowd filled with supporters of the Madison Public Market and TruStage MarketReady Hall were on hand Monday, November 27 to officially mark the commencement of the long-awaited project’s construction. Held at the future site of the Market (202 N. First Street, Madison) the event featured remarks from the following:

  • Welcome by Hannah Mohelnitzky, City of Madison Engineering Division Communications
  • City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway
  • Madison Public Market Foundation President Karen Crossley
  • TruStage Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Angela Russell
  • Melly Mell’s Catering Owner Carmel Jackson
  • City of Madison District 12 Alder Amani Latimer Burris
  • Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary-Designee Kathy Blumenfeld
  • Dane County Board of Supervisors Chair Patrick Miles
  • Daniels Construction President Sam Daniels

Many of the speakers, including Mayor Rhodes-Conway, Angela Russell of TruStage and Acting Secretary Blumenfeld spoke of the economic benefit the Public Market will have for the community, generating wealth and financial well-being for individuals who are starting new businesses or expanding old ones. Mayor Rhodes-Conway expressed her appreciation for the many  persons who have had a hand in making this day a reality – former mayors, alders, Madison Public Market Foundation members as well as city staff from the Economic Development and Engineering Division.

A video production showing the entire event is available.

Photos below show 1) Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway; 2) Madison Public Market Foundation President Karen Crossley; State of Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Designee Kathy Blumenfeld and Dane County Board of Supervisors Chair Patrick Miles; 3) Alder Amani Latimer Burris; 4) Carmel Jackson, Melli Mel’s Catering; 5) Angela Russell, TruStage Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer;  6) Sam Daniels, President, Daniels Construction; 7) Madison Public Market Foundation board members.


Demolition of Fleet Service Building Begins! Market Construction Underway!

During a visit to the former Fleet Service Building on November 1, it was apparent that the Madison Public Market construction is truly underway! Crews from Daniels Construction are now on site and have begun the interior demolition of the building. First step is to remove the overhead fluorescent lighting. Walls to be removed are marked for demolition. Construction is expected to be completed by early 2025.

Dane County Board provides $1M in additional funding; Market construction set to begin

The Dane County Board, already an important backer and funding source for the Madison Public Market, voted 30-3 on October 19 to provide and additional $1 million towards the Market’s completion. This is a final piece of financing that will allow the project to move toward a 2025 opening. The county’s contribution to the market’s financing comes after the Madison City Council voted to borrow about $1.6 million to help close a budget gap after construction bids came in higher than expected. The market will be funded with $11.5 million in city tax increment financing, $849,000 in city funds, up to $3 million in private donations, $4.25 million from state programs and an additional $1.5 million that Dane County approved last year. With the funding issues resolved, the Madison Public Market Foundation can begin next steps towards creating the operating structure that will run the Market. The City expects to begin construction within the next 60 days. You can read media coverage of the County Board decision on the In The News page.

Call to Action! Write to your alder in support of the Market!

This is an urgent request to Madison Public Market supporters! If you believe in the Public Market and its’ potential to be an amazing resource for small businesses as well as its’ future as a beloved Madison destination, the time is now to write to your City of Madison alder. Once again, we’ve reached a critical, make-or-break situation.

“What’s up?”, you may ask. Here goes:

The City’s Engineering Department sent the Market’s construction project out to bid a few months ago, with an estimated budget of $12.5 million. When the bids were opened on September 14, the lowest construction bid received is about $15.2 million. To close this gap in funds available, alders will introduce amendments to the 2023 Capital Budget. Amendments make note of an effort by Dane County to provide $1M in additional funding. Also, upon approval, the City is authorized to seek reimbursement via TID funding. The primary amendment requests an additional $2.2M from City funds; the secondary amendment requests $1.6M.

A vote on funding will occur at the October 17 Common Council meeting. Approval requires the affirmative vote of 15 council members. You can read more about the alders’ efforts here. The construction bid process closes on October 24. If funds are not identified, the bid will not be awarded, and the Market will be delayed, possibly forever. 

Alders need to hear from you regarding why you think that providing the necessary funds are essential. We ask that you encourage alders to approve the request for $2.2M, as this will allow for important improvements to the facility that will greatly enhance the visitor experience. Your voice is critical to convincing them that the Market has substantial public support.

Please write to your alder as soon as possible, and well before the October 17 Common Council meeting.

Here’s a sample message for you to copy and send, although we encourage you to write your own personal note:

I write in support of efforts to provide the necessary funds critical to the construction of the Madison Public Market. The Market, along with the TruStage MarketReady Hall food-related entrepreneur space will provide essential business services to women, members of the BIPOC community, and first-generation immigrants seeking inexpensive business start-up opportunities. The Market offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a fun, lasting and highly regarded public benefit.

Need some more important messages for the alders? Here are some important facts.

The vacant Fleet Services building, in the heart of the vibrant Capitol East neighborhood, is the gateway to downtown, close to the airport and the interstate and will spur economic growth and activity for the surrounding area. The building’s vibrant art-filled atmosphere will be Madison’s next great public place. Repurposing an ideally suited City-owned building makes economic sense and promotes sustainability.

The former Fleet Services building’s 45,000 square feet allows for one of the largest and most unique markets in the Midwest. Re-purposing a building in great shape that the City already owns makes more economic sense, and is more environmentally sustainable, than building new.

The building’s open space with no columns, 2-story high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows covering nearly all of its outer walls allows for ample natural light. Its’ unique retro feel will make for a very fun atmosphere. The location has a high volume of traffic, benefits from excellent transit access, and sits along the Mifflin Street Bicycle Corridor. It is adjacent to Burr Jones Park as well as the Yahara River.

The Market will have a significant positive economic impact – creating jobs for young adults, seniors and the employment disadvantaged while supporting new businesses. The benefit to the regional economy is estimated at $21 million per year. This accounts for the ripple effects of the jobs and economic activity that will occur at the market. Over 250 businesses have stated formal interest in renting a space.

The proposed site is in the vicinity of many low-income persons who would benefit greatly from the market’s healthy foods and employment opportunities. Is part of the densely populated and growing Capitol East District economic corridor. According to the analysis, the site offers the best economic opportunity for local artisans and entrepreneurs in terms of disposable income available to residents in the immediate area.

The Public Market and TruStage MarketReady Hall will be a place where an entrepreneur with a unique idea for a new food product, or a new business idea, can launch their business and bring that idea to reality. The emphasis is on allowing these small businesses to rent space on a part-time, low commitment and low overhead basis.

Update: Alder looks to close latest funding gap

The Cap Times reported on September 19 that Alder Sabrina Madison intends to submit an amendment to the 2023 Capital Budget, seeking to further fund the construction of the Market. She and others will ask that an additional $1.6M be approved.

“I am interested in seeing the project through because I believe the economic and social impact it will have on the city is immeasurable,” said Madison, the alder for District 17, who was a member of the Market Ready Advisory Committee in 2017 to help select the entrepreneurs who will take part in the eventual market.

The City of Madison has two options in regard to the low bid by the contractor.  The first is to do nothing, in which case the project will not move forward.  The second is to amend the 2023 Capital Budget in the weeks ahead to add $1,641,071 to the Public Market budget. Alder Madison’s proposed amendment meets that condition.

Moving forward, the Council will likely introduce the resolution at the October 3rd Common Council meeting to both approve the bid/contract and amend the 2023  Capital Budget Public Market project by a minimum of $1,641,071.  The resolution would be referred to Board of Public Works on October 4th, to Finance Committee on October 9th, and back to Council for action on October 17th.

You can read the Cap Times article here.

Madison Public Market Foundation announces major private funding partners

CUNA Mutual Group, Boardman Clark, Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation among others provide major investments in the construction of the Madison Public Market

The Madison Public Market Foundation is pleased to announce that over the course of the last few years, a variety of corporate and philanthropic leaders have provided gifts to the Madison Public Market’s construction project, providing significant impetus towards making Madison’s first public market a reality. Among the list of prominent contributors is CUNA Mutual Group, who along with the City of Madison, State of Wisconsin, and Dane County, has provided a lead gift to the project.

CUNA Mutual Group’s generous gift of $1.5 million, one of several donations by Madison-area companies and foundations, is made specifically towards the creation of a proposed food innovation facility. To be known as TruStage MarketReady Hall, the facility will be located within the Public Market. Recently, CUNA Mutual Group announced its plans to unify its businesses under the single, TruStage brand, in 2023.

“CUNA Mutual Group believes a brighter financial future should be accessible to all,” said Robert N. Trunzo, president and CEO of CUNA Mutual Group. “We’re excited to invest in this project and support an innovative facility that will help our community’s entrepreneurs access the critical space and equipment they need to create and maintain thriving businesses in Madison.”

Many entrepreneurs who dream of scaling up their businesses, such as food carts and catering services, face insurmountable barriers due to the high cost of commercial kitchen facilities. TruStage MarketReady Hall will provide affordable access to specialized commercial equipment and facilities, assisting entrepreneurs in taking their food-based business to the next level of production and success. One of the benefits of locating a shared commercial production kitchen within the Public Market is the community and entrepreneurial support that will be built into the facility. TruStage MarketReady Hall is an integral component of the proposed Madison Public Market, a vital public gathering place intended to support diverse, minority-owned businesses, create jobs and new businesses, while creating a vibrant, welcoming celebration of food and culture.

According to Karen Crossley, Madison Public Market Foundation Board President, the CUNA Mutual Group gift, in addition to a variety of other private investments, has offers a significant boost to the Market’s fundraising activity.  Importantly, it enables the Public Market to support entrepreneurs in an inclusive, community-based facility that will provide major impact for the growth of small and minority-owned businesses. “We are very excited that Madison Public Market has been a priority among philanthropic leaders and that CUNA Mutual Group sees the Market to be complementary to the company’s purpose to make brighter financial futures accessible to all. We are confident that TruStage MarketReady Hall will support a variety of regional and local entrepreneurs and startups, offering significant economic benefits to many companies and individuals.”

The Madison Public Market wishes to acknowledge the generous gifts of a variety of donors. Thanks to the support of the following contributors, and a total of 300 gifts to the Market from

individuals, companies, and foundations, the Madison Public Market Foundation has achieved its goal of raising $3 million in support. Major contributors to the project include lead gifts from City of Madison, State of Wisconsin, Dane County and CUNA Mutual Group, as well as:

$100,000 – $500,000

  • Boardman Clark
  • Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation
  • Anonymous Donor

$10,000 – $99,000

  • Madison Gas & Electric Foundation
  • Evjue Foundation
  • Heartland Credit Union
  • Old National Bank
  • Madison Community Foundation
  • American Family Insurance Company
  • Hooper Corporation
  • Dan and Natalie Erdman
  • Karen and Alan Crossley
  • Laura Heisler and Steve Goldstein
  • Willa Schlecht
  • Trey and Shelly Sprinkman
  • Sue Goldwomon

Community members who have not yet contributed are still welcome to give. The Madison Public Market Foundation has recently launched a finale funding campaign – Ready, Set, Market! – to raise a final $500,000 to set up our vendors for success, to create culturally rich community spaces and to ensure the Market thrives beginning on day one. Everyone who gives during this

brief campaign will be named on our “Global Table” donor wall at the Market. To donate, visit

About the Madison Public Market

The Madison Public Market is a collaboration between the City of Madison, which owns the former Fleet Services building at First Street and East Johnson Street, and the Madison Public Market Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which will operate the Madison Public Market. The City is in the process of preparing construction bids to renovate the existing structure, a 1960s era industrial garage ideally designed and sized for the proposed Market activities. The Market is intended to be a cherished and inclusive community gathering space with food, art, music, and events that will bring an estimated 500,000 people together each year.

The Madison Public Market Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that will manage and operate the Market.

Market construction is expected to begin in late 2023. Completion is expected in early 2025. To learn more about the proposed Madison Public Market, visit


Mayor’s Statement on the Passage of the 2023 Budget and Public Market Funding

I am very glad that the Common Council took another look at the plans for the Madison Public Market and gave it some thoughtful consideration. The Council expressed strong support for the Market Ready participants and I agree that the equity and empowerment aspects of the project are its most exciting features. I look forward to the Public Market becoming a reality.

This budget puts our money where our values are, building a better Madison that will be strong and resilient for years to come. I thank the Common Council for unanimously adopting the budget.  – Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

Source:  Mayor’s Office, City of Madison, November 17, 2022