Monday, September 22, 2014

Ranch Foods Direct to anchor Public Market

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 5:20 PM

This past Friday, we reported on the big news that the Colorado Springs Public Market has selected its location (all these years later)  — the former Gazette building at 30 S. Prospect St. 

This morning, we spoke with board chair Dave Anderson to follow up and glean whatever info is available at this time, regarding potential member businesses and tenants to the space, which has already started seeing renovations. 

Anderson immediately wished to draw attention to Ranch Foods Direct, which plans to relocate its facility from 2901 N. El Paso St. to anchor CSPM. 

"Ranch Foods Direct is going to have a major presence," says owner Mike Callicrate, reached this afternoon. "We haven't made any final decisions on design and layout and exactly what's going to be there, but one of the things we want to be able to do on site is cook, smoke and add value — it's a whole level of business we're missing at this point." 
click to enlarge CSPM board members and supporters at a May 2013 community meeting. Dave Anderson showing the sense of humor. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • CSPM board members and supporters at a May 2013 community meeting. Dave Anderson showing the sense of humor.

Most importantly, though, RFD will create a stronger market presence for area-produced food items, in part tying into its existing mobile slaughter units

"That's an integral part of how to get local food into an urban area," says Anderson, noting a lesser fossil-fuel footprint and the ability for RFD distribution trucks to "do a milk run" on the way to and from growers. 

"We were saying that 'it's not about a building,' before," he says. "Now we're saying 'It's more than a building,' since we got one ... this is a community project."  

Anderson cites a 2012 Transition Colorado-sponsored study called the Shuman Report, which examined “The Benefits of Food Localization for Boulder County."

You can read it in full here: 

He says a similar effort here will likely amount to a 10-year project for CSPM. 

He also notes an early CSPM feasibility study that shows a "model for success" that includes one-third of CSPM as being composed of fresh products for sale (i.e. dairy, meat and produce), another third existing as food outlets with possible production on site (i.e. a brewery) and a final third being composed of "artisanal" items that aren't food-related but build on community gathering. 

He says the public will be invited to weigh in on what they'd like to see as the project continues to come to fruition, also citing plans to tie directly into downtown's heart via transit and pedestrian options, plus a tie into bike trails. 

When pressed for more on financial aspects of the project and a clearer vision for Nor'Wood Development Group's role and terms with CSPM, Anderson deferred, saying "we have an agreement in concept — we're trying to create an institution. We aren't worried about the lease rate. We have a great deal of confidence in the concept and what will make this thing an economic success and a real success for our community ... We need to do something to change people's understanding of what economic development is all about."

In a follow-up email, he added: "The increase in local wages and tax revenue, and the number of good jobs, is dramatic — for a very low level of investment.”

That said, he did note a figure of $7 million from the feasibility study, to create the hub, citing 30,000 square-feet with which to work — not all of which will be initially developed, leaving opportunities to "graft something onto it and expand in a constructive way."

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