$9M Farmers Market Opens May 11 on the Waterfront in Wenatchee

By John Silver, April 29, 2013, Daily Journal of Commerce

How would Pike Place Market fare in Wenatchee?

That’s not an idle question. The city will get its own year-round indoor farmers market — styled after the one in Seattle — when the Pybus Public Market opens on May 11.

The 25,000-square-foot market will have 18 permanent stalls, including several restaurants, and up to a dozen “day tables” for small-crafts vendors in the common area. The market will also have space for outdoor vendors from May to October.

Full-time vendors will sell wine, meat, seafood, produce, pastries, flowers, gifts and oth items. The 300-foot-long sidewalk in front of the building can accommodate additional day tables. A farmers market will set up shop in the parking lot on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

A refurbished Airstream trailer will be used as an outdoor coffee stand.

The market is at the foot of Orondo Avenue, two blocks east of downtown on the Columbia River.

“There’s quite a bit of excitement” about the new market, said Linda Haglund, executive director of the Downtown Wenatchee Association.

Plans took a couple of years to come together.

The Port of Chelan County purchased the dilapidated former warehouse and surrounding property in 2010. A farmers market was one of several redevelopment ideas.

“The port bought the property at a good price,” said Steve Robinson, the market’s executive director. “They could sell it if it didn’t work out (for redevelopment).”

The city transferred $1.4 million in federal grant funds to the port to renovate the shell and core.

Additional funding came from local business leader Mike Walker, who said he put up $2.7 million for the project, which includes landscaping, parking and other site work. He and his wife, JoAnn, wanted to leave a legacy, he said, explaining his support.

The Walkers started the Pybus Market Charitable Foundation to run the market, which the foundation leases from the port.

The total cost is about $9 million, including tenant improvements, which are roughly $300,000 to $400,000 for each of the permanent spaces. There will also be around 150 parking stalls.

MJ Neal Associates of Wenatchee is the architect for the interior and site work, and Graham Baba Architects of Seattle is the architect for the core and shell. The general contractor is Blodgett Construction Associates.

The building was constructed after World War II by E.T. Pybus Inc. using salvaged aluminum. It has a long, narrow form and clerestory windows that bring in natural light. Roll-up glass doors will open the interior to the outdoors.

“From our perspective, it’s an iconic building with great lines and great architecture,” Robinson said. Walker described the look as “industrial chic.”

The Pybus Market Charitable Foundation purchased a neighboring 1-acre riverfront property with a 7,000-square- foot building that will serve as a second-phase expansion. The extra property allows the market to have room for dining on the east side of the building and preserves views of the river.

The concrete-block expansion building was constructed in the 1960s, and could house an event space or another restaurant or brew pub. It has a hallway that connects to the rest of the market.

Robinson said that while the expansion could be costly to renovate, its proximity to the river could make it “the crown jewel of the whole place.”

The expansion has received interest from potential tenants, he said.

Even though it hasn’t opened yet, Pybus Market is already having an economic impact on downtown Wenatchee. Several new businesses, including a brewery, cupcake shop and barbecue joint, have opened along Orondo Avenue in anticipation of the traffic the market will generate, according to Haglund of the Downtown Wenatchee Association.

Downtown retailers hope the market will give tourists another reason to stick around, and add a much-needed off- season attraction.

“There’s great anticipation of having that great, historic building open and repurposed,” Haglund said.

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