“A space where dreams come true.” Long-awaited Madison Public Market breaks ground

TruStage CDO Angela Russell, MPM Foundation chair Karen Crossley, Dept. of Administration Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Dane County Board Chair Patrick Miles, business owner Carmell Jackson, Alder Amani Lattimer-Burris and Daniels Construction president Sam Daniels break ground in a ceremony Monday. Photo by Robert Chappell.

Stakeholders, supporters and community members gathered at the former City of Madison Fleet Services building to break ground, metaphorically, on the Madison Public Market, which is slated to open in the spring of 2025 after nearly 15 years of discussion, debate, fundraising and delays.

“This is going to be a space where dreams come true, and where wealth is generated,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

The 45,000-square-foot facility will host about 30 permanent vendors in the central Market Hall, as well as short-term vendors in other spaces. TruStage MarketReady Hall will be a space with resources to help get entrepreneurs off the ground, including a commercial kitchen and ongoing support programming. The market will also include event space, outdoor seating and public art.

The $20 million project will be funded by budget allocations from the City of Madison, Dane County and the State of Wisconsin, as well as corporate philanthropy and individual donations gathered through the Madison Public Market Foundation.

“I see this as a pay-it-forward endeavor,” said County Board Chair Patrick Miles, who helped shepherd a $2.5 million contribution from the County.

“We know that there are so many challenges facing entrepreneurs of color, women and other historically marginalized groups when it comes to developing, starting and ultimately growing a business,” said Angela Russell, chief diversity officer at TruStage, which committed $1.5 million to the project. “At TruStage one of our our main visions is helping create brighter financial futures.”

MPM Foundation chair Karen Crossley said entrepreneurs from traditionally marginalized groups — people of color, women and veterans for example — would be prioritized in the vendor selection process.

Artist’s rendering of the Madison Public Market.

Anyone with food products or locally created artisan goods can learn more here and express interest in becoming a vendor here.

“It’s been like a race, and every time you get to the finish line, they move that finish line,” said Melly Mel’s Catering owner Carmell Jackson, who’s been set to become an MPM vendor for more than three years. “And you’re still running, still running. Well today, we finished that race.”

Madison-based Daniels Construction will perform an “adaptive reuse” of the existing building at 202 N. First Street on the east side, meaning the outer walls will remain intact but the interior will be gutted and rebuilt based on designs by Minneapolis-based MSR Design.

This story has been updated to correct the name of Carmell Jackson.