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French Market Underperforming

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 12, 2010 6:20PM


Despite $25 million (including $8 million in tax increment financing) and the enthusiastic support of Mayor Daley, the Chicago French Market at the Ogilvie Transportation Center is underperforming, according to Crain's.

Nearly a year after Mayor Daley christened its opening to great fanfare, the market still has over 35,000 square feet of vacant space. Moreover, vendors are slowly but surely starting to drop out of the project, while those sticking in are citing the market's inconvenient location and a lack of awareness about its existence as other factors contributing to its slow start. Critics of how the Mayor has handled the TIF pile the city has amassed over the years have also cited the French Market as another example that a project of the French Market's stature isn't guaranteed success just because tax financing is involved in its funding.

Update: We want to clarify some figures we cited in this post. While Crain's cited the larger MetraMarket has 35,000 square feet of vacant retail space, the French Market itself only encompasses 15,000 square feet. We regret any confusion this may have caused readers.

Furthermore, while three vendors did pull out of the French Market, market publicist Cindy Kurman tells us that they've gained four new vendors, including LM Café.