Tri-Cities Public Market Feasibility Study and Preliminary Site Analysis
August 28, 2015
Prepared by Aaron Zaretsky • • 828-645-9291 •
Note: This document is also available in PDF form here. None of the content of this Report may be reproduced without the permission of the author.


This Study would not be possible without the many insights and creative leadership of Mark Lambert. As the lead private developer for The Crown Group, Mark has a proven record of accomplishment in the private sector. In addition, Mark has a keen concern for the health of his adopted community. His diligence and deep commitment, warmth and apt perceptions were invaluable in guiding this report. 

Adam Brault, principal of &yet, Mark’s partner in this venture, is the epitome of why Richland and the Tri Cities needs and deserves a Public Market. His youthful energy, his commitment to the city of his birth, and his wise perceptions, were very important to my understanding of the Richland community.

The City of Richland is extremely fortunate to have staff like City Manager, Cindy Johnson, Director of Community Development, Kerwin Jenson, and Brian Moore, Redevelopment Project Supervisor. Their perceptive questions as well as their understanding and support for the Public Market project will certainly go a long way to making it possible for the project to succeed.

Amanda Divine, owner of Adventures Underground, was very helpful in providing insights into Richland from the perspective of a young, successful entrepreneur.

This Report builds on the many prior reports and information made available to me by Mark Lambert and City staff.

The ideas and suggestions contained herein, and any mistakes or oversights are solely the responsibility of the author. 

Executive Summary

This Plan examines the feasibility of locating a Public Market in Richland at the proposed site. 

The Tri Cities have tremendous resources and assets that could lead to a successful Public Market.  The Plan details specific suggestions of how to establish and maintain a healthy and vibrant Market environment.  Public Markets’ showcase what is best about a community while meeting their everyday shopping needs. The vibrancy and color of the Tri Cities Public Market will increase tourism and improve life for residents of Richland and the Tri Cities.

Following an examination of relevant past studies, as well as background information on the author and on the concept of a Public Market, the Plan examines the various strengths and weaknesses of the site, Downtown Richland, and the Tri Cities area.  

This Plan suggests that a Public Market is feasible. The Report examines the viability of a Public Market through the lens of geography, demographics, a demand analysis, visitor characteristics and existing uses. 

The Plan concludes that the Public Market is feasible on its own and that its success will be enhanced by addressing a variety of recommendations contained in this Report. 

Specific characteristics of the Public Market and its tenant mixes are recommended. Unique anchor tenants are proposed for suitability evaluation by area stakeholders.

The recommended components of the Market are described along with the Market’s recommended size, rough capital costs and timing for development. Potential funding/financing sources have been previously identified.

Finally, a roadmap to create the Public Market is presented.

The Plan concludes that the Public Market and its associated components and enhancements are not only feasible but could be transformative for the Richland and Tri Cities business and residential community. 

Existing conditions

Downtown Richland is generally considered the Central Business District. The maps below show Richland, the downtown, and the potential Public Market site.

[ maps ] 

Downtown Richland, generally zip code 99352, is 0.409 sq. miles with a residential population of 835.

Downtown’s residential density is 40% higher than Richland as a whole. That said, the move to return to downtown living that is occurring all over the US, is just beginning to happen in Richland. Median age of downtown residents is 3 years younger than Richland residents as a whole. Downtown residents are more likely to be single or married without children than Richland residents. 6% of Downtown residents were born out of the country.  

Downtown residents are more likely to rent than own. They are 54% more likely to own their own vehicle.