Somewhat overshadowed in Erie County Clerk and real estate developer Chris Jacobs’ “Moving East” proposal is a strategy to rejuvenate the Broadway Market. Jacobs’ plan calls for government and non-profit entities to consider relocation from downtown into the East Side to jumpstart redevelopment. He suggests they be concentrated in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, ideally at the Broadway Market:
The building has well over 200,000 square feet of unused space on the upper floors. Between the vacant space and parking at the Broadway Market and the buildings surrounding the Market, there is more than ample square footage to accommodate all these organizations. To be clear, this is not displacing the Broadway market, but locating these entities in the unused upper floors and back portion of the huge structure.
If non-profit’s current locations were sold, redeveloped by the private sector, and put on the tax rolls, the increased property tax could finance a major upgrade to the Market according to Jacobs. The improvements would significantly transform the look of the Market and also convert the back portion for City police and fire and non-profit use.
One of the keys to the plan, prepared with help from architect Charles Gordon, is connecting Kent and Sienkiewicz streets to split the mammoth Broadway Market complex into two more modestly scaled buildings. This creates four new street corners to help strengthen neighborhood connections and creates another street entrance into the Market.
The front building would contain a smaller market but there’s a possibility of a new third level along Broadway. A more transparent façade would strengthen its connection to the street and would highlight the best physical feature of the existing building- its structure.
The changes to the Market are tied to a plan for redevelopment of the neighborhood within a three block radius. The existing K-Mart building would be demolished to accommodate new infill residential development separated from the new Aldi’s by a street parallel to Broadway. Pedestrian connectivity would be improved between Broadway and the Stadnitski Senior Housing Complex on Gibson Street. A new public park would be constructed on Kent Street across from the Corpus Christi Campus. The streetscape along Broadway would also be improved including traffic calming measures and a better pedestrian crossing between the Market to Aldi’s.
The physical changes to the Market would create a more attractive setting and also bring in new users and traffic. It would need to be a two-pronged approach to sustaining the Market in its current location. Stakeholders with the Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition and others want to see a focused approach to bring new businesses into the market, restore its position in the citywide economy, becoming a regional market beyond the Easter season, and emphasize the local food movement.