Manager says Midtown Global Market deserves public support

Jamal Hashi
Jamal Hashi is the owner of Safari Express, one of 54 businesses located inside the Midtown Global Market.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams

The chief manager of the Midtown Global Market says a cash infusion from the city of Minneapolis to keep the market running is appropriate, given the benefits it provides the city.

Mike Temali said such subsidies are typical of urban marketplaces. Mayor R.T. Rybak has asked for about $1.8 million in cash and loan forgiveness to keep the market afloat.

"Frankly, nationally or internationally, if you look at any iconic public market you want to pick, whether it's Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pike Place in Seattle or wherever, every one we've ever looked at had substantial public support because of the public side of what they provide," Temali said.

He said the market, in the historic Sears building on Lake Street, is doing progressively better after more than seven years in business and is close to self-sufficient as a retail space. "What we are asking the city to help us with," he said, "is the social mission side of this, which is approximately $200,000 a year at this point. And we anticipate that this will continue to decline."

Temali pointed out that the market faced a daunting challenge when it opened in a "very distressed" neighborhood with high crime and low incomes. Now, he said, police costs are down, millions of people have visited a place they used to avoid, and the market has proved itself as a "huge public benefit."

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