All the great cities in the world have some type of showpiece market, a siren call to tourists and locals alike. Now, thanks to a rather unlikely collection of food entrepreneurs, Houston could soon have one too.
Houston’s near 75-year-old Farmers Market is set to undergo a $10 million revamp that will completely transform it into a market with world-class ambitions. The goal? To give Houston a farmers market that stands toe to toe with Seattle’s Pike Place Market, London’s Borough Market, Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market and the rest of the globe’s most famous markets.
MLB Capital Partners, a commercial real estate investment firm that usually deals with lower-profile building projects, bought Houston Farmers Market from its shareholders (descendants of the original farmers who started Houston’s original farmers market at the 2500 block of Airline Road site in North Houston) and is spearheading the revamp. The firm’s tapped Houston celebrity chef Chris Shepherd and the city’s preeminent beer guru Kevin Floyd as primary consultants on the project, a sign they understand how important food and notable local vendors are for the market’s success.
But make no mistake, this is a very personal project for the guys in suits too.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to do something iconic for the city of Houston,” MLB Capital founding partner Todd Mason says. “(The market’s) not living up to its full potential right now.”
Mason gave PaperCity a private sneak peek of his plans in the gleaming glass conference room of an office tower across from the gilded St. Regis Hotel. But this is not just a suit looking to make a quick buck.