A version ofthe Chattanooga Marketis coming to Collegedale in 2016.

The Chattanooga Market has partnered with the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation for a new market in the forthcoming Collegedale Commons multiuse facility. Tentatively, the Collegedale Market is expected to open in the late spring or early summer of 2016, following phase one of construction.

Plans for the Collegedale Commons facility were announced in January. The 8-acre tract of land will offer green space, a 10,000-square-foot event barn, conference areas, and an open-air structure that will house the market and other outdoor activities. The facility will be located directly behind Collegedale City Hall.

Click here to read more about the creation of Collegedale Commons.

Advertisement

This is a big move forward for both the city of Collegedale and the Chattanooga Market.

Chris Thomas is executive director of Public Markets Inc., which operates the Chattanooga Market and other markets in the area. He said the Collegedale Market just makes logistical sense.

“I live in the Ooltewah/Collegedale area, as do a number of people who work at Volkswagen and other east Hamilton County and Bradley County businesses,” Thomas said. “So I believe it’s possible for the Collegedale Market to eventually grow larger than the Chattanooga Market. Downtown Chattanooga can be a 20-30 minute drive for some, longer if I-75 is congested, so the commons should quickly emerge as a local community hub.”

Both the Collegedale Commons and the market will fill a much-needed hole on several fronts. With the presence of Volkswagen, Amazon, U.S. Express and Southern Adventist University, the area is primed for what the commons can provide.

But it’s also a boost for farmers, Thomas said:

One “very good” day per week is not enough for a local farm, food truck entrepreneur or an artist to flourish. Baseball teams play 162 games each season; until recently, we’ve only provided our farms and local artisans with about 36 market days each season. No matter how large our crowds become, those economics simply don’t work-we must do more if we expect our farmlands and local entrepreneurs and artisans to survive.

The Collegedale Tomorrow Foundationis a nonprofit organization designed to enrich the future of Collegedale through a broad-based strategic effort. David Barto, director of the foundation, said the idea of having a Collegedale Market was 12 years in the making.

“We’ve all been happy going to the market downtown, but what I started noticing is that it was starting to be crushed by its own success,” Barto said. “They’ve got more people than they have room for and more vendors.”

Thomas agrees.

“While we are very proud of the Chattanooga Market and its strong community support, it’s no secret that we’re stretching the Southside to its limits on Sundays,” Thomas said. “It’s a great problem to have, but it’s still a problem. We want for our markets to become part of your weekly routine, and that’s difficult to ask when we’re overcrowded.”

The Collegedale Market will help split some of the traffic and allow both markets to thrive in the future. Barto thinks he’s in good hands with Public Markets Inc.

“We talked to him and asked if we built would they run it for us,” Barto said “They’ve got a proven product and are great vetting program. Of all the markets I’ve been to, the Chattanooga Market is the best-run market that I’ve been to.”

Phase one construction is expected to begin soon. The initial construction involves dirt work, landscaping, parking lots, two market buildings and the plot tower. Barto said that if everything keeps falling into place, the market should be ready to go by early spring/summer 2016.

“Every market we launch has its own unique personality, and we anticipate that Collegedale will develop its own style over the first few years,” Thomas said. “It’s the current and future partnerships which will define the Collegedale Market, and we’re just as curious as anyone to see what emerges.”

Advertisement