Parkville Market began construction in September 2018. The 20,000 ft2 facility will be Connecticut’s first public market food hall.
MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price toured the grounds and learned more about plans for Parkville Market with Director of Operations Chelsea Mouta and Chuck Coursey, Principal at Coursey & Company Public Affairs Communications.
NAN: Let’s talk about the value Parkville Market is bringing to the community.
CHELSEA MOUTA: The market will bring in a new tax revenue stream from personal and personal property taxes and from sales revenue on the food and retail. We’re estimating around $2 million with conservative traffic targets of tax revenue to the state. We’re are also conservatively estimating 200 new part- and full-time jobs and mostly net new businesses to the area.
CHUCK COURSEY: Often in urban developments, people talk about wanting to create an environment where you can work and play. Blue Back Square in West Hartford is a great example. It was built from the ground and included those components. Parkville already has them. It’s a stunning example of a true multi-use neighborhood. There are schools, great restaurants, residential, businesses, a library, and a grocery store—which is rare in Hartford.
The Parkville Market is going to be of Parkville. That’s important because people often have good intentions to do something new, but they almost forget what made the neighborhood special in the first place. The Market won’t just improve Parkville, it will enhance it by creating more of a good thing.
NAN: Do you think this model could be replicated in other areas?
CHELSEA: I think we know it can from what we’re seeing across the country. Food halls and public markets are popping up all over the place. Some cities are oversaturated. We don’t have that problem in Connecticut. This type of market would do well in Stamford or Norwalk as well.
This is the first public market to come to Connecticut. It’s exciting for it to be in Hartford. And there’s excitement not just Parkville and Hartford, but also from people out in the suburbs. It’s creating a totally different experience than going to brunch on a Sunday.
You could spend hours at the Market and still not try all the snacks or go to the different retail shops. We’re hoping to build an even larger experience. We’re starting with one building, but there’s room to grow in that space.
CHUCK: Retail is changing. With e-commerce there’s a lot of competition. But people are still looking for experiential retail. That’s one reason why restaurants are doing so well in this area. People like that experience of being around other people.
CHELSEA: This neighborhood already offers a “choose your own adventure” type of experience. We’re just adding another layer. Hartford Flavor Company hosts tours and features live music as does Hog River Brewing Company. Parkville Sounds is right here. It’s an amazing community that wants to work together and develop Parkville as a destination. People are so happy to work and live here. We’re excited about the project being in the neighborhood and expanding on the community.
NAN: How are you finding vendors?
CHELSEA: We posted information about our application process on social media. Over the last nine months, we’ve gotten more than 80 applications. A lot of those conversations have become fruitful and several folks are ready to sign our licensing agreement. We’re looking for a variety across-the-board so we can bring value to the customer.
We’re so lucky to have such a culturally diverse food scene already in Parkville and we want to expand on that. Some of the folks in this neighborhood are thinking about opening a new concept in our market.
NAN: How is the market being funded?
CHELSEA: Part of it is privately funded by my father, Carlos Mouta who is the project developer. We’re working to close on a loan from the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) for $3.5 million. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has contributed a $300,000 loan as well as a $100,000 grant for creating 10 new jobs.
NAN: The big question is: When will the Parkville Market open?
CHELSEA: We’re hoping for some time early fall. With any construction project, you just don’t know—especially with an older building. Many people told Carlos he could knock this building down for a lot less and rebuild the whole thing, but we strongly feel this building is a part of the community and it’s worth the investment. It’s a part of the neighborhood.