Neighborhood rumblings about the rift between Chris Masci (owner of New England Open Markets) and Mario Nicosia (GTI Properties) have continued since my last post in early December, Can the South End host two farmer’s markets in the South End.
This past week I was contacted by another source who asked I not mention them by name. They indicated that Chris Masci has opted to expand his market on The Greenway to a three-day market (Friday – Sunday) and if true would presumably not host a South End farmer’s market in 2016. But this makes no sense to me since that would mean The New England Open Market would compete with the Boston Public Market (open Wed – Sun from 8AM-8PM). The Boston Public Market is close enough to be viable competition and it has the added advantages of having more vendors, public parking and access to the T.
I’m currently in Brazil and have not been able to connect with New England Open Markets to ask if this latest rumor is true but since my previous questions have either resulted in no response or denials about GTI hosting their SoWa Farmer’s market it is hard to say if I’d get a reliable response. Maybe larger blogs dedicated to such topics (e.g. EaterBoston or Hidden Boston) may be able to get more clarification. One thing that is quite clear, the proposed relocation of the South End Farmer’s Market under the I-93 expressway appears to be a deal breaker for many long-time vendors as yet another confirmed with me that they would not participate in the farmer’s market if it was located there.
Just as the South End Open Market season was coming to a close, New England Open Markets announced that they would be moving to the Ink Block in 2016; I wrote about it in my blog post: South End Open Market moves to Ink Block in 2016 but Food Trucks and Farmers Market stay put.
After writing the post I was contacted by New England Open Market and was told that the entire Farmer’s Market would be moving in 2016. This conflicted with what I had been told by vendors. They were unhappy that the Farmer’s Market would be relocated under the I-93 expressway. Last week two longtime Farmer’s Market vendors confirmed they would not follow New England Open Market and would be joined by other vendors who would prefer to remain on GTI’s property, forming a second market for the neighborhood. How the market will be rebranded or which vendors will remain is unclear but it appears that differences between Chris Masci (owner of New England Open Markets) and Mario Nicosia (GTI Properties) are irreconcilable.
Mario and GTI Properties would seemingly have the upper hand in this feud with the public already familiar with the 450 Harrison Avenue location, ample parking and space for the market sandwiched between GTI’s recently renovated 460 Harrison Ave which now includes 40 new boutiques and Vintage Market. However, my question is can our neighborhood sustain two Farmer’s Markets?
For more background on their feud which led to this split I’d refer you to The Boston Globe’s story from early October, Bitter split muddles future of South End markets.
Tomorrow evening SoWa First Fridays is joined by the annual holiday shopping festival Chrismukkah SoWa. This year Chrismukkah will include a 6,500 square foot heated tent in the 450 Harrison Ave to accommodate the 50+ local artisans selling handcrafted goods and treats. In addition to the “Big Tent”, along Thayer Street shop the more than 90 artist studios and 60+ shops, boutiques and galleries that will be open. Food trucks will also be setting up should you want a snack or you can cozy up in one of the many restaurants in SoWa.
Friday, Dec 4: 5-9PM
Saturday, Dec 5: 10AM-5PM
Sunday, Dec 6: 10AM-5PM
If you would like directions, check out the Chrismukkah website to view the map or to get directions, here.
Sergio having fun at SoWa First Friday’s Abigail Ogilvy Gallery
Friday night was freakishly warm and that in part probably contributed to the thousands of people who turned up to see some of their favorite local artists as well as 21 new art galleries. If you cannot guess from the photo I took of Sergio at the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, the evening was a lot of fun.
Congratulations to all the new galleries and boutiques at 460 Harrison Ave. I wish everyone of them much success. I can’t think of a more eclectic combination of retail / boutiques in Boston. If you missed this month’s opening, mark your calendar for the next First Friday event, December 4th from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM.
Leggat McCall Properties 700 unit residential complex would rehab 575 Albany Street
The Boston Globe reported this week that Leggat McCall Properties filed plans to build 700 new apartments; mostly one bedroom and studios in the South End. The plan suggests it would rehab the building shown above at 575 Albany, and demolish three smaller buildings on East Dedham and East Canton streets.
The Leggat plan joins a list of large residential developments in recent years that include the Ink Block (300+ residential units), Troy (375+ residential units), the yet to be named 345 Harrison project (550+ residential units) and 600 Harrison (150+ residential units) – and with the recent sale of the Boston Flower Exchange and Quinzani’s Bakery one should expect more announcements to follow.
According to the Globe, construction could begin in early 2017. If you’d like to read more read the full article in The Boston Globe here.
Earlier this week New England Open Markets –who operate the South End Open Market at SoWa each Sunday — announced that they will be moving to the Ink Block next season.
While the South End Open Market will be moving a few blocks down the street to the Ink Block word on the street is that the Arts & Crafts, Farmer’s and Food Truck Markets will remain at 450 and 460 Harrison Avenue.
While the details are still fuzzy, it seems to me that the retailers along Harrison Avenue must see this as great news. The weekly markets draw thousands from outside the neighborhood each Sunday while in operation (May through October). Although the never ending flow of foot traffic may be the source of headaches for drivers, this will help the quirky, independent retail shops that have come to define the SoWa retail scene and distinguish us from most other retail centers in the city.
Looking for an excuse to put on a wig and let down your hair? The Ink Block is hosting a “Get Wigged” party on Friday, October 2nd from 8:30 – 11:30 PM at 300 Harrison Avenue in SoWa.
To attend you must RSVP at getwiggedatink.eventbrite.com.