Early estimates on the three options for the planned Farmers Market Building on the range from about $2.17 million to $3.3 million.
City officials and members of the design-build team presented a view of the three building options during Monday's City Council meeting, and staff received a consensus direction to finalize design for all three options and bid them out, with all the alternative amenities.
Assistant City Manager Lauren Palmer said the staff would present a contract with a guaranteed maximum price in February and hopefully begin construction shortly thereafter. Representatives from Hollis+Miller Architects and McGown Gordon Construction joined Palmer with Monday’s presentation.
The proposed Farmers Market Building would be in the city-owned parking lot off Truman Road between Liberty and Osage streets. The design presented Monday showed the building more toward Osage Street and covering less than half the space, with angled parking across the rest of the space.
A healthy portion of the cost – more than half of the $2.17 million base option – comes in the site improvement necessary to construct any structure there. The site would need to graded and repaved, along with the necessary utilities.
The base option is a free-standing, steel enclosed building with a metal roof, brick accents and rolling glass doors on the outside, allowing for the building to be either open-air or enclosed. The second option, estimated at about $2.9 million, adds some indoor bathrooms, catering kitchen and some additional parking lot improvements. The third option adds an open structure to the east of the enclosed building.
The council has earmarked $600,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds for the project, and the Rotary Club of Independence has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city to raise up to $400,000 for the project. City staff says there is potential for a couple of significant in-kind contributions from contractors and some other one-time revenues.
Palmer said that for financing the base option, “We feel pretty confident this is achievable.” Beyond that, she said, “We would need to identify additional resources we don't have right now.”
Dan Pierce from Hollis+Miller said the design-build team tried to implement several themes brought up in two public forums about the Farmers Market Building. Those included a desire to have the space be permanent, usable year-round and for events beyond the Farmers Market and be an attractive focal point. One concern was the lost parking spaces, something Pierce said they tried to rectify some with the angled parking.
“We really want this building to be gateway to the Square – something that has that iconic look to it,” Pierce said.
The city hopes to have the building constructed and open for business during the summer.
Joe Antoine, manager of the Farmers Market, said the vendors have some mixed emotions about the plan but generally are happy to have an enclosed space and presumably better visibility along Truman Road. The designed space could prove to be crowded, he said, both for vendors and parking.
For the past couple years the Farmers Market has been in the parking lot a couple blocks south at Liberty Street and Kansas Avenue. For years before it had been in a lot on the opposite corner from the new planned site, but the city conveyed that land to local lawyer and developer Ken McClain, who as planned constructed a series of townhouses.
“As a general rule, it will be a plus, having the lights and permanent structure,” Antoine said. “All in all, like I told the farmers, we'll just have to make it work.”
It would help, he said, if the third option with the additional open-air structure could be completed – if not at first than in the future. If the new building will mean any higher fees for vendors, they're not as concerned about that as the space, he said.
“All in all, we're positive,” Antoine said. “We've got some hurdles to overcome, but we're looking forward to it.”
Mayor Eileen Weir said she was excited for the city to share the progress on a year-round permanent structure that many citizens have hoped for.
“The three options we looked at today are a big step toward that dream,” Weir said, “and the community support we have received in raising funds for this effort has been tremendous.”