Grand Traverse Regional Market Feasibility Study


July 2, 2012 - Market Ventures, Inc.

In December 2011, the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation, working in partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Market Initiative, retained Market Ventures, Inc. (“MVI”) to conduct a feasibility analysis for creating a “food hub” within Building 58 of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City, Michigan. This initiative grew out of the Grand Vision process and its Food & Farming Network subgroup, which aims to increase the resilience and double the value of the region’s food and agricultural system by 2019.

The Grand Traverse Regional Market is envisioned as a professionally managed, multifunction facility that supports the production, retailing, storage, and distribution of locally grown and produced foods. The Regional Market is meant to benefit farmers throughout the region who need infrastructure for food production, year-round direct marketing, and distribution in order to meet the needs of local consumers and to tap new potential buyers.

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, located on the west side of the Traverse City downtown area, is one of the largest historic preservation and adaptive reuse redevelopments in the country. Until the 1980s, Building 58 was used by the North Michigan Asylum for its food processing and storage needs. Today the three story structure is being used primarily as dry storage to support construction efforts elsewhere at the Commons. The developers of The Village and owners of Building 58, the Minervini Group, are partners in this planning process and interested in seeing the building used for food-related functions.

MVI’s scope of services included these primary elements:

  1. Market analysis (quantification of supply and demand)
  2. Assessment of functions
  3. Identification of preferred management and operations
  4. Financial modeling
  5. High level assessment of economic impact

Principle research methods included review of relevant reports, key informant interviews, focus groups of potential facility users, site inspections and tour of regional food offerings, secondary data analysis, and pro forma analysis. An Advisory Board guided the study. This report includes the research findings, analysis, and recommendations.

This study was prepared by Ted Spitzer, President of MVI. MVI is a specialty urban planning and economic development firm that assists public, non-profit, and for-profit clients with planning, creating, and managing innovative food-based projects and programs, including food hubs, public markets and farmers’ markets. Information about MVI can be found at



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