Madison Public Market remains on track to open in 2023, despite site’s current use as homeless shelter

MADISON, Wis.– City leaders promise the Madison Public Market, more than 15 years in the making, remains on track to open by fall 2023, and the site’s current use as a temporary men’s homeless shelter will not change that timeline.

“We’re in a position where we can’t start construction until next fall,” explained Matt Mikolajewski, Economic Development Director for the City of Madison.

But Mikolajewski said that’s been the plan, since the coronavirus pandemic delayed city approval of necessary funds last summer. The upcoming market, with a total price tag of $15 million, will be constructed on the site of the city’s former Fleet Services Building at 200 N. First St., a block north of East Washington Ave.

Despite the pandemic, the project retained its $7 million in tax incremental finance (TIF) money.

“The timing should work out fine, in that we can continue to use the property as a temporary men’s homeless shelter for the next year,” Mikolajewski said.

The Common Council is still finalizing plans to move the homeless shelter a few miles east next winter, once construction on the public market begins. Last week, council members approved a site near East Towne Mall.

Interested in becoming a vendor? 

The Public Market Foundation is actively talking to prospective businesses. Current plans call for 30 permanent vendors. The first five were announced last month.

Click here for more information on the merchant selection process.