What's Next For The Dallas Farmers Market?
The push to privatize the Dallas Farmers Market has spanned the better part of a decade and transformed it into a top-shelf experience. (Might we recommend grabbing a local beer at Mudhen and some off-the-wall cheeses from Scardello before shopping for local ingredients in The Shed?) These changes have already made headlines, but with several projects still under construction, the Farmers Market is just getting started.
In 2011, Downtown Dallas Inc introduced its Downtown Dallas 360 plan. It including taking the DFM into private hands, adding multifamily and mixed-use projects, improving walkability and public transit, and giving the neighborhood a more distinct identity. DDI coordinated efforts with the city, and in 2013, Spectrum Properties was selected as the market's owner.
The goal was to make it an honest farmers market with local—not grocery—produce, says CBRE SVP Jack Gosnell. With The Shed and The Market open for business, the next phase of the project—15k SF of retail and a free parking garage—will deliver in October. Harvest Lofts are currently under construction on top of the parking decks and will have 280 units of multifamily. The final building, Taylor Lofts, will break ground next year with an expected 25k SF of retail under 35 units of residential.
For the remainder of the retail, Jack (here with his son, Cameron) is looking for special retailers, such as a green hardware store or a flower shop, that will complement the existing mix of shops in The Market and remain true to DFM's principles. Jack wants people to use this as their local shopping center to buy meal ingredients, services and some dry goods.
But CBRE, DDI and Spectrum know it takes more than ingredients to revitalize an area, and DDI isn't championing the Farmers Market in a vacuum—it has plans for many neighborhoods. The org is working on a mobility study that will model street networks, traffic patterns, bike lanes, sidewalks and more. DDI hopes to discover which streets might be good to shut down for special events, which streets need better sidewalks, which could lose land in favor of more sidewalk cafés and—perhaps most importantly—how to better connect neighborhoods to each other.
Improvements to mobility have already started. Via a partnership of DDI, DART and the city, a free shuttle service covering Downtown will begin servicing a stop at the Farmers Market. The new D-Link Route 722 will begin Aug. 29 and run six days a week from 11am to 11:30pm.
With more parking, public transit options and walkability, it's only going to get easier to get to the Dallas Farmers Market. But thanks to the plentiful play options, CBRE and DDI hope it becomes much harder to leave.
DDI VP of marketing Shalissa Perry tells us they want the Farmers Market to become a destination for residents, employees and tourists, and for those who want to walk, bike, drive or catch the DART.