Erie Events’ market house could cost up to $12M to build
Erie Events continues to move forward with plans for a year-round, multimillion-dollar indoor market house on the city’s west bayfront.
But the organization now believes the facility’s price tag has gone up significantly — and it will be seeking additional financing for the project.
Gus Pine, Erie Events’ executive director, said that based on new construction cost estimates and other data, the facility is expected to cost between $10 million and $12 million.
Erie Events previously estimated the market house’s cost at between $7.5 million and $10 million. The facility is planned for property adjacent to the 12.5-acre former GAF Materials Corp. site, just north of the Bayfront Parkway near State Street.
Pine said the project cost has been adjusted based on two construction estimates received for the project. “Price escalation related to inflation and simply the passage of time played the larger role,” Pine said.
As a result, Erie Events has adjusted plans for the market house.
A two-story structure is now planned instead of a building with three floors, Pine said. Further, the building’s footprint has been scaled down slightly, so it will contain 27,000 square feet instead of nearly 32,000 feet of space, Pine said.
“The second floor was going to be future retail opportunities, office space and restrooms; we pulled that from (the) project scope,” Pine said. However, plans still call for space for two “anchor tenants” as well as indoor space for events and vendors, he said.
Erie Events is seeking a full-service grocery store as one of those anchor tenants, Pine said. Those tenants would be located on the building’s roughly 22,000-square-foot ground floor.
Pine said plans now call for a nearly 5,000-foot area on the market house’s second floor, with large glass walls, that can be used year-round for events that maintain views of Presque Isle Bay.
‘Additional funding’ sought
Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects, which has offices in Pittsburgh and Alpharetta, Georgia, has recreated new design renderings of the market house. The firm has been hired to handle preliminary design work for the market house.
Renderings depict a red brick and glass building along the waterfront, with outdoor seating, surface parking, landscaped outdoor spaces and a metal roof supported by wooden beams.
Plans also call for the market house to feature an enclosed pedestrian walkway over the Bayfront Parkway.
Pine said the project’s financing still includes $5.5 million in state funding previously awarded for the project. He said additional funding will come from “some mixture of cash, grants and loans. Those details are yet to be finalized.”
Erie Events officials have said an exact timetable for construction/completion of the market house is uncertain pending full funding of the project.
Erie Mayor Joe Schember’s administration supports the project.
“I know they are still trying to raise funds,” Schember said. “We are helping in any way we can.”
Market house plan
Pine said the facility is still a top priority for Erie Events, which operates the Bayfront Convention Center, Warner Theatre, Erie Insurance Arena and UPMC Park and oversees two waterfront hotels connected to the convention center: the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel on West Dobbins Landing and the Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel, located on the Sassafras Street Pier.
Erie Events officials have said the market would operate year-round and feature a full-service grocery store as well as local vendors that sell chocolates, wine, meats, produce, crafts and other goods. It aims to add a much-needed full-service grocery option in downtown Erie.
It would utilize both indoor and outdoor space for vendors and include a performance space for musicians and other artists.
The market house is also expected to become a landing spot for pedestrians who use proposed walkways over the Bayfront Parkway suggested as park of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s $100 million in planned improvements to that area.
Contact Kevin Flowers at email@example.com. Follow him on X at @ETNflowers.