To Fix Central Market, Start With a Strategy

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
October 26, 2011

Question: What’s the best way to revitalize Central Market?

Answer: There isn’t one way, but many — and they all need to be coordinated with one another.

While this sounds like an answer that Yoda might offer, we hope that the folks at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OWED) don’t have to rely on the Force alone to help finalize the Central Market Economic Strategy. The objectives of the strategy include creating an arts district, improving public safety, reducing vacancies, encouraging development and improving the public realm. All of these are good ideas — and all will need substantial political support in order to be realized.

The city is well positioned to build on its work in the Central Market District. The passage of the neighborhood’s payroll tax exemption is bringing in big employers like Twitter. Meanwhile several city departments (including Planning, the Department of Public Works and the Municipal Transportation Agency) are in the process of contemplating some major changes for Market Street itself as part of the Better Market Street Plan. All of these positive changes could help form the basis for real improvements in the district.

The Central Market Economic Strategy seeks to build on this work. In doing so, the city will need to find ways of dealing with challenges that have bedeviled planners for decades, such as high storefront-vacancy rates along Market Street. How can the city, given the current fiscal climate, attract and retain businesses in the area? Are there ways of incentivizing temporary uses to enliven the area? How can we get arts uses to thrive?

SPUR is in the process of developing its own position on the latest draft of the Central Market Economic Strategy. We urge you to do the same.

Read the draft plan at centralmarketpartnership.org  >>

Tell the city what improvements you want to see for Central Market >>