After two years of work, developers cut the ribbon Friday at the reconstructed Dallas Farmers Market Shed Two, renamed “The Market.”
The indoor portion of the Farmers Market redevelopment will house around two dozen local Dallas vendors but only a few were ready for the “soft opening” held Friday.
Dallas chef Joanne Bondy spent the past two years planning her new soup store called “Stocks and Bondy.” She is excited about her new business after visiting the 75 year old market with her parents as a child.
“And I was always excited. I was the first one out of the car. So, this really is dear to my heart and a good future for me,” Bondy said.
Produce vendor Paul Gray said he kept going in an outdoor stall during the past two years of renovation even when others gave up hope. A special event at the market last weekend gave him reason to be optimistic.
“Last week was one of the best weeks I’ve had since I’ve been on the market in my 20 some years, and a lot of us didn’t think that would ever come back again,” Gray said. “I can begin to see the big picture, I think it’s going to be wonderful, once it’s completed.”
Still to come are hundreds of new apartments, 500 public parking spaces and many more shops and restaurants on the former city property turned over the developer Brian Bergersen and his group.
After years of decline, city leaders expected the new development to be a regional destination and Bergersen said it should also attract out of town visitors.
“Not only are we looking at the downtown residents and we’re looking at the customers in North Texas, we’re looking at the tourists that are coming into downtown,” he said.
The project received around $15 million tax increment financing dollars from the city of Dallas for new streets and utilities.
“It’s all new infrastructure down here. None of this had been touched since the 40s,” Bergersen said.
In return, the developer is building what he says is now a $70 million project and it has already attracted hundreds of other new apartments and townhomes on downtown land around the market property.
Bergersen developed the “Third Rail Loft” project downtown before the Farmers Market.
“Most of the buildings that could be redeveloped have been redeveloped. And now you’re seeing new construction and you’re seeing new construction without city incentives,” he said.
New resident Hillary Donnelly lives in one of the Farmers Market area homes. She recently moved from California. She attended Friday’s market re-opening.
“We have food options, just being out with other people. We’re real excited to build community in this area,’ said.
More small, local shops and restaurants will open in The Market building over the next few weeks.