Owners of the landmark Farmers Market property, where a major expansion project is already underway, last week revealed that it plans to begin construction on four additional buildings on the eastern edge of the property by the end of this month.
A.F. Gilmore Co. has planned an addition to its 1934 marketplace since 1998 but details had only been firmed up in recent months, officials of the closely held, family-owned company said.
Most of the space in those additional structures has not been leased yet, but Gilmore officials said a Cost Plus World Market and a Marmalade Caf & #233; would be going into the development's largest building, which has 55,000 square feet of space.
The Farmers Market structures are scheduled to be finished in early 2002, roughly simultaneous with The Grove, a 25-acre retail, office and entertainment complex that is currently under construction elsewhere on the property.
A.F. Gilmore Co., which is run by family member Hank Hilty, is known for being tight-lipped about its plans for Farmers Market and would not release costs of the development.
In addition to the 55,000-square-foot building, the new project will include a 16,000-, a 5,000- and a 1,000-square-foot building. The smallest of the buildings will have the landmark Farmers Market Clock Tower placed atop it, with the lower portion leased as retail. The clock tower, a symbol of the 67-year-old market, was removed last year from the old "Dell" building.
"Adding these buildings has been a part of our long-term plan for some time," said Mark Panatier, vice president of A.F. Gilmore Co.
The original Farmers Market will remain mostly intact, despite all the new construction.
Company executives put out general contract bids for the four new buildings six months ago and are talking to several potential tenants, including sit-down restaurants and retailers whose products are compatible with the Farmers Market theme of food, home decor and dining. Officials said Cost Plus was selected for the site because it sells several home-related items such as dishes and curtains.
To make way for the new construction, three small buildings will be torn down near the market's eastern edge. The lottery booth will be taken down and moved to Sheltams Newsstand on the north side of the market. The structure housing the Farmers Market Key Shop will be demolished and the key shop moved to the temporary Post Office building in the parking lot. The former B. Dalton bookstore building will be razed.
The construction will require some juggling of entrances, exits and parking spaces at the popular marketplace at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue.
The Third Street entrance will remain open, but instead of heading immediately north upon entering the parking lot, traffic will be rerouted west past Kokomo Caf & #233;, Starbucks and Du-par's Restaurant. Parking on the eastern portion of the property will be temporarily eliminated.
Construction on the $100 million The Grove at Farmers Market started last September. When it opens it will have a Nordstrom department store, a flagship Crate & Barrel, several movie theaters and substantial office space.
Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated Holdings in Santa Monica is developing The Grove, while A.F. Gilmore Co. is developing the additional four buildings itself.
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