2017 National Planning Excellence Award
for Economic Planning & Development:
Grand Rapids Downtown Market

American Planning Association, Annandale, Virginia

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market received APA’s top national award for economic development planning.  The award singled out the work of Market Ventures, Inc. in leading the planning effort that led to the Market’s creation.  In particular, the selection committee noted the inclusive and thorough planning process, the number of jobs created within the Market, the number of new businesses launched, and the economic development impact on the surrounding neighborhood.  The award ceremony took place at APA’s 2017 National Conference in Phoenix.

Video link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JWRDqXswt4

Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence – Silver Medal Winner 2015:  Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Bruner Foundation, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Recognized as “a new public market and gathering space promoting local food, education, and entrepreneurship,” the Grand Rapids Downtown Market received one of five Rudy Bruner Awards for Urban Excellence, America’s most prestigious award celebrating urban spaces and projects.  The Bruner Foundation sponsors this biennial competition focusing on the complex process of urban placemaking.  All five winners are featured in the book Challenging Conventions:  The 2015 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation, 2016.  The book notes:  “In 2009, Grand Action engaged MVI to complete a concept plan and feasibility study for an urban market. The study was led by MVI President Ted Spitzer and Senior Associate Hugh Boyd, FAIA. Both are national consultants in the development, design, and programming of new, award-winning urban markets, including the Milwaukee Public Market and 1999 Rudy Bruner Award Silver Medalist Portland Public Market in Portland, Maine” (page 118).

Video link:  http://www.rudybruneraward.org/winners/?res=grand-rapids-downtown-market

Community Building By Design Award

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development/American Institute of Architects

The Portland Public Market was honored as the first-ever recipient of this national award. “The award goes to projects that play an exemplary role in helping to revitalize the communities in which they are located by enhancing the community’s physical fabric,” announced Ronald Scaggs, President of AIA during the awards ceremony in May, 2000 in Philadelphia. HUD and AIA joined forces to recognize excellence in design and community planning and this reward honors the hard work and planning that went into the creation of the Portland Public Market.

Exemplary Economic Development Planning Award

Economic Development Division, American Planning Association, Annandale, Virginia

The Portland Public Market was chosen for this national award as an excellent example of downtown revitalization and for the quality of the project.  Ted Spitzer, President of Market Ventures, Inc. and Director of the Portland Public Market, was cited in particular for his background and recognized for collaborating with the Preble Street Resource Center in developing Stone Soup Foods.  This Public Market business, which produces and sells soup and soup stocks, provides job training to clients at Preble Street’s busy social service agency.  The Portland Public Market was also noted for its many positive impacts on the city, including its role as a major downtown destination for area residents and tourists alike. The award ceremony took place at the national APA Conference in New York City in April, 2000.

Downtown Achievement Awards for Economic Development, Award of Merit

International Downtown Association, Washington, DC

For more 15 years, the International Downtown Association (IDA) Downtown Achievement Awards Program has celebrated the best that downtown revitalization and management has to offer.  The awards are given annually to recognize exemplary and innovative projects, strategies, and events in downtown revitalization.  IDA described the Portland Public Market as follows: 

A newly constructed indoor fresh food market in downtown is a state-of-the-art facility housing 25 permanent vendors and eight day stalls for products grown or produced in Maine.  The architecturally pleasing market hall takes its cue from Maine’s timber country.  Most significant of all is the strong on-site management and networked point-of-sale computer system providing accurate centralized information.  The market is also wired for e-commerce providing an extensive web site and vendor links to the site.  The jury awarded the Merit award to this model public market for its demonstration of how philanthropy, small business, and government can create a forward-looking commercial enterprise.