'Beautiful vision:' Halifax Brewery Farmers' Market getting major upgrades
Killam is redesigning the historic building's market space in downtown Halifax to include new seating, larger courtyards, and vendor areas.
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After years of being “overshadowed” by new farmers’ markets in the Halifax area, the small but mighty Brewery Farmers’ Market is getting a dramatic upgrade.
On Monday, building landlord Killam Properties and the Brewery Farmers’ Market Co-operative Ltd. announced a five-year lease renewal and revamp for the historic space, which is being handled by local design firm Breakhouse Inc.
“We feel pretty lucky … as a non-profit, volunteer, board-run co-op we have really lacked the resources to be able to build a better business for ourselves,” Jessica Ross, chair of the co-op’s board of directors, said in an interview.
“They have a beautiful vision, I’m really excited. They wanted to create an urban district and they’re really going for it.”
Ross said since Killam took over the building in the last couple of years and began construction of The Alexander residential development next door, the plan has been to integrate the two and enhance the Brewery courtyards, warren of hallways, vendor spaces, and lighting to attract new customers and vendors.
Everything is being designed with input from the co-op, Ross said, like better circulation, vendor stalls, accessible washrooms, expanded seating areas, and opening up spaces in the lower courtyard to create a bigger venue and host community events.
Breakhouse also plans to incorporate a series of illuminated photos celebrating the building’s past two centuries of activity, a release said, which includes the building’s Alexander Keith’s Brewery.
Ross said she’s especially excited about the prospect of a rental kitchen inside the market that could be used by community members or vendors as a resource for their businesses.
The building’s entrances will also be amplified to have a more vibrant street presence, Ross said, alongside new landscaped pedestrian areas which is vital because the market can often “disappear into this weird old historic building.”
Ross said for a small operation with roughly 20 vendors, they’re hoping to double their membership since the landscape has gotten more and more competitive in recent years. While Ross said they were once the only game in town, there’s now multiple markets including the Halifax Forum, Alderney Landing, and massive Seaport market.
However, Ross said they’re proud to be a producer-run farmers’ market, and it stands to reason that there’s “space for us all” as the local food movement has become a huge focal point in HRM.
“We’ve been overshadowed but it’s okay, it is what it is and it’s exciting to just think about the future,” Ross said.
“We’ve had a really dedicated community coming to the market, so that support has carried us along.”
Construction will take place during the week to not disturb the Saturday market, and while Killam plans to unveil the changes in mid-November Ross said it’s likely things will be wrapped up in December.