DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas is looking for someone to buy all or part of the Farmers Market.
City officials say the venture loses close to a million dollars each year. But 20-year market vendor Stan Miklis says the city is the problem.
“They lose $800,000 a year and they blame the vendors when it is really inept city management,” he said.
Area Redevelopment Manager Karl Stundins said the city is currently considering different options.
“We’re looking for all proposals. It’s possible that the city continues to operate the market, or the market portion of the project.”
William Gray owns a produce stand that’s been in the family for nearly 40 years. He says the market loses money because the city won’t invest in upgrading and marketing it.
“I just think this a great place and I think it could still be a great place, but when you have three stalls, in the wintertime, completely empty you’re gonna lose $800,000,” he said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.”
City leaders say it would be a waste of taxpayer money to invest in the market while they’re looking for a new developer.
“Even if we’re putting a coat of paint on it or something like that, to spend money on something and then come back in a year and half and have a private developer undue what we spent,” Stundins said.
But Miklis says for him it’s not just upgrades and marketing. “My whole livelihood is threatened,” he claimed. “There’s no guarantee of tenure beyond, with the new management company.”
Stundins said operating procedures don’t overshadow the bottom line.
“There will be opportunities, with proposals, for vendors to continue to do what they’ve been doing, but we’re looking at different ways of running things so it doesn’t run in the red.”
The Request for Proposals requires bidders to come up with a plan that keeps at least 60,000 sq. ft. open for vendors, who currently have about 100,000 sq. ft. of space.
The deadline for proposals is May 16.