The Opportunity: An Amazing Public Market / by EpicDevelopments

As many of you know, the PGH Public Market is moving from its current home on Smallman St to Penn Ave, serving as a nice book end for the food-centric neighborhood.  The new building as it stands to today is nondescript cider block structure with no historic reference; but with amazing design (inside and out) the project could serve as an amazing new amenity and attraction for the city.

In the past year I've checked out two unbelievably beautiful and well conceived markets in Washington, DC (Union Market) and San Francisco (Ferry Building).  My hope is that Pittsburgh could bring something equally as impressive to the new market with the new Public Market space.  Both markets are successful in my eyes for two reasons. Each were designed with cohesion in mind as well as sought high quality tenants in order to create their brand.  As a result of both, the experience of shopping at either is one that is incredibly fun and satisfying.

In looking to Pittsburgh, recreating something of this nature would result in something that would be well patronized and become a neighborhood asset.  And it makes sense.  The Strip is a gritty and random place.  There are indie/ethnic mom and pop shops next to iconic landmarks that define the neighborhood.  Therefore with the new Public Market, having something that is very intentional and curated brings something completely different to the neighborhood.  And the way this should happen is through thoughtful design and a curated tenant grouping.

So how do you do that?  First and foremost design review and standards.  No, you don't want to have boring uniform signage in a space, but yes, you do want all the signage/layouts/designs to compliment each other and be attractive.  Second and equally important is tenant selection.  In being selective you are ensuring that the cheese stand is as high quality as the produce purveyor as is the seafood guy.  In doing so, you create more value for the Market and its vendors and are able to attract a greater customer base.  Now this might be harder in PGH as we are pulling from a smaller group of vendors but there is no reason why you can't ramp the project up over time (as they did with Union Market in DC) so that the end result is one that is achieves the outlined goal.

For those that do not fit into the box that is described above (weekend/small sellers), there should be an outdoor/temporary component separate from the indoor space that is an avenue for them to use.  This allows both types of sellers (the full time/branded and the part-time/less branded) groups to both successful exist together while still achieving the goal of beautiful amazing new market.  So what do you say Pittsburgh, should we do something amazing with this one or what?!
Union Market
Salt & Sundry at Union Market
Union Market
Ferry Building

Union Market


Ferry Building
Union Market