Sacramento Bee / Randy Pench

People eat and shop inside the Oxbow Public Market.

Group launches campaign for a public market in Sacramento

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:40 pm

A group will launch a campaign today to build a year-round public market in Sacramento.

The group includes Steve Carlin, the developer of the renowned Oxbow Public Market in Napa and a project manager for the Ferry Building Marketplace on the San Francisco waterfront.

Both of those projects – which include farm stands, restaurants and shops – have been cited in the past by local developers and city leaders as inspirations for a market in Sacramento.

Carlin will be joined by local political consultant Joe Rodota, former downtown railyard developer Richard Rich and attorney Jeffrey Dorso. The group plans to launch a social media campaign starting today to the promote the plan and has scheduled a launch party tonight at midtown’s Hook & Ladder restaurant.

The group has not settled on a proposed site for the market, although it would likely be built in or near downtown Sacramento.

Financing options also have not been finalized. The group said it expects the plan to include a “public-private partnership.”

Those elements of the proposal are expected to be explored in the coming months.

“Sacramento is emerging as a nationally recognized ‘farm to fork’ capital – and a public market can be the capstone of these efforts,” Carlin said in a statement. “A public market in Sacramento will boost tourism to the entire region and create jobs. Other cities with thriving public markets have also found them to be a valuable civic amenity for residents, a resource for local schools and a symbol of community pride and vitality.”

Rodota added that “a public market should be Sacramento’s next big civic amenity.”

“Not only can a public market serve regional residents, it can also draw visitors from throughout California, as well as international and national visitors,” he said.

Local civic leaders and developers have longed discussed the possibility of building a public market in downtown. Multiple locations, including the former Greyhound station on L Street, have been mentioned as potential sites for a market.

In 2010, Sacramento developer Rubicon Partners proposed building a year-round market, wine center and convention space at the corner of Eighth and K streets. The developers planned to call the center the Boqueria, after the famed marketplace in Barcelona, Spain.

The City Council, however, bypassed the plan and instead went with a rival proposal to build housing, retail and offices on the 800 block of K Street. That project has still not moved forward.

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at

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