Vendors are preparing for a flood of people as the new Downtown Market opens up tomorrow in Grand Rapids.
Community leaders hope the giant new indoor market will become a year-round regional attraction.
The smell of fresh apple pie from the hot pink Sweetie-licious bakery is the first thing you notice inside the new Downtown Market. It’s one of Linda Hunt’s national award-winning pies made with Michigan apples.
Hunt’s small bakery in DeWitt makes more than homemade pies. They make “snickerdoodles” or “whoopee-pies,” and cupcakes among other things.
“Pretty much everything here is awesome,” Hunt said.
She says she’s thrilled to open her second location in Grand Rapids Downtown Market.
“The market’s got fishmongers, cheese, chocolate and beer makers … fresh local produce, its own greenhouse, banquet rooms, and a few teaching kitchens.”
Developers hope the market will become an economic engine in a rundown industrial neighborhood.
The Downtown Market is backed by the same group that built the Van Andel Arena and the DeVos Convention Center – Grand Action.
Mimi Fritz is the president and CEO of the new Downtown Market. It’s surrounded by a freeway and old furniture factories. Once abandoned, a couple of those factories are being transformed into residential lofts.
“The market has sparked this economic development and that was the whole idea is that we be a catalyst for change and economic development,” Fritz said.
The Market is a 138,000 square foot building with a total cost of roughly $30 million.
Grand Action brought together top donors and local foundations to raise more than $12 million in private funds, which was then used to leverage more than $15 million in public funding, which included early financial commitment from the Clean Michigan Initiative, along with an additional $4.7 million in tax credits from the state brownfield program.
The Market will be a self-sustaining non-profit organization independent of Grand Action.