Broadway Market Revitalization
As a historic anchor in Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, the Market is seeking to solidify and expand its customer base of faithful community patrons and annual holiday shoppers into a steady clientele that will help support and sustain the 90,000-square-foot site—and fuel neighborhood development. New York State has committed $4 million in state capital funds to ensure the Market is a sustainable and vibrant shopping hub and regional destination year-round.
The project aligns with recommendations in three separate Market reports issued over the last two decades and builds on recent investments. The next steps in transforming the Broadway Market into a year-round attraction that provides growth potential for small businesses and creates stronger connections to the Broadway Fillmore business district and nearby Central Terminal consist of four components:
- An operations and management plan will create a clear set of procedures to maintain positive relationships with existing and new tenants.
- A new market study will identify the groups that represent the Market’s core customers and new groups to expand the overall customer base.
- An interior and exterior design plan will ensure customer navigation of the building and floor space that is fully utilized.
- Capital funding for equipment and improvements will create a modern facility that is more welcoming to visitors.
A community survey on a variety of issues, including the mix of market vendors, market appearance and operations, and non-food businesses and services, was open from March through June 2020. The feedback helped create a roadmap for implementation and capital improvements that can contribute to the market’s renewed vibrancy and sustainability.
Two community webinars then took place:
- Watch the June 2020 presentation and Q&A here. More than 60 attendees, with community members and representatives from the Broadway Market, the City of Buffalo and the Central Terminal, were on hand.
- Watch the September 2020 meeting and Q&A here. The purpose of the meeting was to share the public input and recommendations received to help develop a comprehensive business and marketing plan for the revitalization of the market.
In January 2021, consultants presented to the public their recommendations for revisions of the physical design and business plan of the Broadway Market. View the final consultant recommendations for the Broadway Market here and a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation here. The meeting and Q&A were recorded and can be viewed here.
The project’s lead consultants are Buffalo-based design firm CJS Architects and Aaron Zaretsky of Public Market Development, which has been involved with the revitalization of Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market and similar facilities across the U.S. After a robust public engagement period, the consultants submitted its recommendations to ESD in January 2020 (see above), which present a framework for a Broadway “International” Public Market, intended to become a destination that explores the full palette of ethnic/national food offerings – and presents a new management structure, ideas on fostering existing vendors and new vendors to try to attract, and $50 million in suggested physical improvements to support it. The plan anticipates a long-term implementation that will require the community, City, County, New York State and not-for-profit sector to come together on the vision and progressively take steps over five to ten years. The plan recommends that the City retain ownership of the Market and calls for the establishment a new, not-for-profit entity to manage the Market and lease the building from the City.
New York State previously committed $4 million in funding through the Buffalo Billion for the Broadway Market, which the consultants feel should be used to leverage additional funds from federal, state, and philanthropic foundation to achieve a considerable share of the target $50 million in improvements. ESD is currently reviewing the recommendations and over the coming months will vet these internally, with sister state agencies, and at the local City and County levels to actively solicit possible partners to advance the recommendations. Once a consensus is reached on a proper path moving forward, ESD will establish and empower an implementation team to begin to operationalize the consultant recommendations.
As one of the oldest and largest City-owned public markets in the United States, the Broadway Market is a focal point for Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood residents as well as a seasonal holiday destination. Famed for its ethnic, old world shopping atmosphere, the Broadway Market’s concept of selling fresh and unique products remains unchanged since it first opened in 1888. The Broadway Market is a focal point of celebrations of Polish-American heritage during the Easter season. In addition to the Market’s historical ties to the Polish-American community, today the site is increasingly a food shopping destination for New Americans and local residents. Open year-round and six days a week, the Market has struggled to convert these respective annual and monthly influxes of shoppers into a more consistent customer base capable of supporting commercial activity at the site for a full 52 weeks a year.