Miami’s Public Market, Part 2

In Part 1 I talked about the Public Fish Market building by the Miami River and how it got my wife and I thinking of a possible new Miami Public Market. In Part 2, I share that daydream with you. I should tell developers that if you use any of these ideas, I fully expect to be compensated!

Imagine this:


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A new Miami Public Market space centered around the old Public Fish Market, only seconds from Downtown Miami, in the middle of this historic neighborhood. The old fish market building restored, it now serves as a welcoming area to the new market, showcasing an information kiosk and visitor’s center, a short visual history of the Miami River and the public fish market, and selling branded Miami Public Market merchandise, all this alongside space for other Miami entities to promote themselves to locals and tourists alike: Bike Miami, Miami River Commission, local galleries and festivals, etc.

Across the street and down NW N River Dr. there are three areas for the new buildings of the Miami Public Market. Across the old fish market/Visitor Center, Market Area 1 sits in a small island surrounded by SW 1st Street. The new building constructed here, perhaps a two-story structure, would be the new fish market building, housing vendors selling fresh fish and seafood, highlighting local and seasonal options when available, frozen as a second option to carry the vendors through the lean times. Ideally caught by local fishermen and brought to the market via the Miami River, the merchandise is unloaded at the landing right next to the Visitor Center.

Take a short walk down N River Dr. and on the other side of the SW 1st St. overpass, on the narrow strip that is Market Area 2, envision a canopied open air bazaar for local artists. It would be two rows of tables with enough space in between them for foot traffic to flow in both directions, the canopies allowing the breeze to flow through yet keeping the harsh sun or the rain out. Table space would be available to artisans for a very cheap fee, offset by private funding, grants or as unobtrusive advertising as possible; a membership fee might be another way to go on this. The idea is to give local artists a prime space outlet to sell their wares for as nominal a fee as it can be managed. In this way we nurture the local art scene and draw foot traffic, especially the touristy type. (Did I mention I’d want non-stop shuttle service to/from the Port of Miami?)

Across the street, on the other side of SW 2nd St, is Market Area 3, the location for the multi-story (at least three) main building of the new Miami Public Market. Here are housed the produce vendors, especially the local farmers and CSAs, which would receive an incentive for their presence, selling fresh and seasonal fruits and veggies. Include here (perhaps in a different floor) space for meat vendors selling non-mass-farmed (and ideally grass-fed) meats. Rounding out the selection would be locally-made foods, such as honey or jams or whatever as long as they are local and do not need to be cooked on-premise, as well as flower vendors.

I’d open up some space for non-local vendors as well, but my main objective would be to get as much support going for local farms as possible (I roughly define “local” as being within a 250-mile radius, but considering our particular geography in Florida, I’d be happy to include the entire state, giving us the widest variety possible). I know this may sound a bit punctilious, but I cannot stress enough how important promoting and supporting local farmers is to the mission of the Miami Public Market.

You might’ve been wondering about parking space for all the visitors the market would get. The wonderful thing is that, the parking space is already there. Wisely using the space under I-95, there are a number of large parking lots, currently closed for the most part (frankly, in 14+ years in the city I have never seen them used, though I’m not a constant presence Downtown by any stretch of the imagination).

So there it is, our idea for a new Miami Public Market in the Downtown area. Would it ever get made? I don’t think so. I’m trying not to be as cynical about progress in Miami as in years past, so I’d like to think that perhaps part of the idea could be implemented at some point in the near future (and if we take the report from the Miami River Commission at face value, it seems they want to do something along those lines in this area). So, here’s hoping.

2 Comments so far

  1. ymperez on January 29th, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

    You have no clue how much I’d like to see this happen. The idea of having a truly vibrant downtown area, complete with a Pike’s Place-style market, would entice me to stay in Miami rather than move away… Please, please, Miami, do this for your citizens!!!


  2. Daniel M. Perez (highmoon) on January 29th, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

    You read that, City of Miami? The gauntlet has been thrown.



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