Something New Under the Sun

Midtown Global Market tries to forge new rules for ethnic markets and eateries

JoAnna Hicks, the Global Market's real estate development director, says she estimates the potential annual revenues from the market at $28 to $35 million. At the other end of the economic spectrum, she adds, the Midtown Global Market needs to generate approximately $12.5 million in sales every year to stay in business. In an ideal world, Hicks says, the public market would need to see 1,500 visitors a day.

"We know that it needs to serve both residential and business customers, but it also needs to be a unique destination," Hicks says. "The most critical piece is that it serves as a local community gathering place." In the visits to the public markets across the United States, the groups learned a crucial lesson: Don't just fill the spaces, but hold out for the right variety of products and businesses.

Hicks says the NDC is currently focused on creating a strong mix of grocery items, from meats to produce. And the Midtown Global Market is seeking a bakery and a specialty cheese and wine shop in an effort to diversify the offerings. In the next few months, Hicks adds, they hope to open a sit-down sushi and Asian-fusion restaurant.

Nick Vlcek

Though it's a risky venture, the optimism surrounding the project is palpable. "Asian entrepreneurs were a large part of the revitalization of Nicollet and Eat Street," Flory notes. "Many cities are beginning to realize that immigrant entrepreneurship will redevelop places other people have given up on. To us, the Sears building is symbolic of what Late Street will be in the future."

Also in this issue: Eat Locally, Eat Globally: In which a widely anticipated boondoggle turns out to be a boon for Minneapolisís urban fabric, by Dara Moskowitz

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