Background. The land and building (the real estate) were purchased in 2003 by some East End angel investors that didn’t want to see the market fade away. The Roosevelt Market (i.e., the business piece) was acquired in early 2004 by Nicki and Susan, the folks currently running the show who have earned the trust and confidence of neighbors and students for the past nine years. The Roosevelt Market has been in almost continuous operation as a neighborhood market since the early 1900s. All that could change; that’s why you’re reading this.
The building owners are faced with a need to recover their investment, so the building (not the market) is for sale. This means neighbors face a decision: do we do nothing, and mourn the loss of the market if it goes the way of the Hollywood Market in the North End? Or do we step up to the plate and find a way to secure the market’s place as a permanent historic, economic and cultural asset for the East End?
Here are a few realities:
- Whoever owns the building gets to decide what happens.
- That being said, anyone attempting to change its historic use as a market—or displace the current market mavens—would face an uphill battle with neighbors...not to mention losing ground in terms of existing use agreements. Although many people with good intentions may have a dream for 'the perfect business or boutique,' it would be about as welcome as the ugly sweater you used to get from Noni every year.
- We benefit from the convenience and social amenities of a neighborhood market.
- An option being considered involves raising funds to purchase the building and hold it in a neighborhood trust, which would lease space to the Market.
- Another option is for one or more new ‘angel investors’ to purchase the building and continue to make it available for use as a market (this is why it’s still here). This would last only as long as those investors can afford to have funds tied up in the real estate; it would also depend on the intent of the investor(s).
- A third alternative is to sell shares in the market for a set price; inidividual shareholders would get one vote, regardless of the number of shares held. Shares could be bought and sold, and bylaws would govern various aspects of trading.
- If we do nothing, we can’t complain if the market goes away.
So, several neighbors are busy exploring options and networking. Stay tuned to see what we come up with, and leave comments!