For Immediate Release - December 20, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Seeks Operator for Public Market in Boston

Public market request for proposals

BOSTON – December 19, 2011 – The Patrick-Murray Administration's Departments of Transportation (MassDOT) and Agricultural Resources (DAR) yesterday announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an operator and/or developer of the proposed year-round public market in downtown Boston.

In response to the increasing appetite for local products, the public market will feature fresh produce and flowers and plants grown in Massachusetts, seafood landed in Massachusetts, and specialty foods produced (such as baked goods, jams and chocolates) in the Commonwealth.

“In the heart of our capital city, the public market will create new economic opportunities for our farmers, fishermen, and specialty food producers,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “The market will also showcase the tremendous quality and variety of Massachusetts products.”

The RFP is the culmination of several months work by the Public Market Commission, which held a series of nine public meetings over the summer and fall to solicit input from the general public, Massachusetts farmers, fishermen, specialty food producers, and other interested parties. Located at 136 Blackstone Street, the proposed market will be on the first floor of Parcel 7 in approximately 28,000 square feet of usable space. In addition to providing use of the MassDOT-owned building, the Commonwealth is prepared to invest up to $4 million for capital improvements to the space, roughly half the anticipated cost of the market build-out.

The nine-member commission, chaired by DAR Commissioner Scott J. Soares, includes representatives from the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MassDOT, the legislature, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Rose M. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, and the city of Boston.

"I am eager for Boston to have a great public market for the 21st Century, one that serves not only as a showcase for great local foods, but also as a hub for Boston's growing food economy,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “I look forward to working with the Governor, his Administration and the operator of the market, once designated, to build ties with neighborhood markets, with young people in our schools and with seniors, among others, to ensure that all Bostonians benefit from this new Public Market."

“The public market will transform a vacant building in a prime downtown location into a vibrant and bustling market for residents and tourists to enjoy,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “I look forward to working with many stakeholders to renovate this parcel and open the doors on a new experience for our City.”

“The public market is another sign of Governor Patrick’s commitment to the agricultural economy in Massachusetts. The new market will create good jobs, provide an important outlet for Massachusetts-based products, and educate the local community about the importance of fresh, local food and other agricultural products,” said DAR Commissioner Soares.

The operator will report to the Public Market Commission on a periodic basis and be responsible for raising funds for additional improvements; design and construction; property management and maintenance; selection, contracting, and management of individual retail vendors within the market; public education regarding the importance of local, fresh food; promotions and communications; and coordination with other businesses, governments, and neighborhoods in the area, among other things. The RFP welcomes responses from not-for-profit or for-profit entities, or a joint venture of both.

It is expected that the eventual operator will enter into a lease with MassDOT, the owner of the property, for an initial period of five years with options to extend. The RFP will be advertised for 90 days, with an initial bidder’s conference and market tour scheduled for January. Final proposals from potential operators are due March 2, 2012. The Public Market Commission will then review responses and select an operator.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at http://twitter.com/MDARCommish.