The San Diego Public Market Bids Fond Farewell | Barrio Logan Market Announces Closure

September 10, 2014

The San Diego Public Market in Barrio Logan stopped its twice a week marketplace last year, but it wasn't until today that organizers officially announced that the project was no more.  The industrial warehouse on National Avenue was taken over and converted in September 2012 in hopes of opening a public market similar to Pike Place in Seattle and Reading Terminal in Philadephia, with an astounding 1,379 people donating to the first San Diego Public Market fundraiser on Kickstarter. While founders Dale Steele and Catt White have remained optimistic, business was not consistent enough to keep the bi-weekly openings cost effective.

Organizers of the San Diego Public Market have agreed that the project may have been over-ambitious, as filling 92k square feet of industrial space is no easy task, especially in the Barrio neighborhood, but hopes were that the market would assist in the growth and improvement of the surrounding area, as Pike Place did in Seattle.

In addition to its bi-weekly market, the San Diego Public Market hosted some incredible events, including A Taste of the Market, Street Food Market, Taste of Asia, and the San Diego Fig Fest, to name a few. We're extremely saddened to hear about the markets closure after such a noble and passionate effort by organizers, donors, chefs and many others in the community.

The founders of the SD Public Market took to Facebook today to bid the city farewell:

Fond Farewells
September 10, 2014 at 8:25am

It is with great reluctance and a good bit of sadness that we must report that the San Diego Public Market project in Barrio Logan has come to an end. Our plan to repurpose an old factory to create a central San Diego food hub will not come to fruition there. It is not for lack of effort that the project did not succeed, and we extend heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who supported it with donations of time, energy, talents, funds, and relentless enthusiasm and encouragement.

The project had a promising beginning. We located a property big enough to develop a permanent home for farmers and vendors, create a food incubator and an urban farm lab, and a setting for multi-cultural community events. We secured a long lease. We attempted to finance the project first via equity fundraising and later by taking the first steps to create a non-profit entity, with encouragement from local government agencies. Generous supporters donated over $135,000 to kickstart the factory building rehab and farmers’ market launch and we invested several times that in personal funds and loans from brave family and friends.

We repaired giant roll up doors, pitted floors and broken windows, painted, poured concrete and created working bathrooms and sinks so markets and events could take place, and striped the parking lot. We prepared the run down cottages to house emerging businesses. We invested in architectural planning and permits, operated and subsidized farmers’ markets for many months, and paid rent for almost two years on 92,000 square feet of space. We hosted community events from Martin Luther King Day Breakfasts, TedX, and Slow Food Urban San Diego’s Good Food Community Fair to the memorable Street Food Market that rewarded Kickstarter donors, while we continued to pursue the dream of a Pike Place style market filled with permanent shop spaces.

In the end, even as the concept was revised several times to make it attractive to affordable housing development partners and local redevelopment agencies that could provide the financing to move it forward, it was not to be. The property owner was unwilling to negotiate acceptable terms,and advancing the project has become impossible. Barrio Logan holds a special place in our hearts and we regret that the San Diego Public Market project could not further contribute to this wonderful community’s evolution.

Catt Fields White and Dale Steele remain committed to promoting and encouraging local food producers, independent businesses and community-based organizations throughout San Diego, each through her own efforts and projects.

While we wind down the myriad details involved in a project of this size, we will be here to answer questions and respond to comments, but we will soon stop posting as San Diego Public Market. We will continue to crow about local producers, chefs, food artisans, and other businesses and projects that we think will spark your interest.

Thank you again for your support, and for your dedication to making a difference.