CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb's administration is set to propose new legislation aimed at driving growth to the West Side Market.
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The legislation, which will be introduced to City Council on Monday, calls for cap rental rate increases, an expansion of lease options and the permitting of alcohol sales to support vendors. The proposal will also provide the City, which owns the venue located at 1979 W 25th St., with an opportunity to enter fair lease agreements with tenants. The current ordinance would require the City to increase its vendor rents by over 30 percent in 2022, which the Bibb administration does not believe would be fair to vendors.
Per a press release, changes to the current ordinance include:
- Hold rent rates at their 2020 levels for 2022 and cap annual rent increases to no more than a 3% increase in future years.
- Allow the City to enter leases for up to three years with one, three-year option to renew. Currently, the City is not permitted to enter leases for longer than one year at a time, which prevents some businesses from securing financing and is a disincentive for those who may want to invest in their space.
- Permit short-term leases, which would allow the West Side Market to consider daily pop-up events, seasonal vendors, and food trucks;
- Charge prepared food vendors the same rate as traditional (butcher, meat, vegetable) vendors. Currently, prepared food vendors pay a 60% premium on space compared to traditional vendors; and,
- Repeal the City of Cleveland ordinance that prohibits alcohol sales at West Side Market stands.
“Vacancies at the West Side Market is currently at 32%, the proposed changes seek to close the gap and set the stage for growth at the West Side Market with fairer and flexible lease agreements for all," Mayor Bibb said in a statement. "The proposed legislation opens the door to new opportunities for growth, providing security to our existing vendors and flexibility to attract seasonal vendors to the market."
In addition to the proposed changes to the ordinance, the Bibb administration is seeking authorization to renew an agreement with Ohio City, Inc., which maintained a fund to benefit the West Side Market during its centennial celebration in 2012. The proposed legislation "would also authorize the City and Ohio City, Inc. to continue collecting donations for the West Side Market and would allow those donations to be spent on programs benefiting the West Side Market including marketing, establishing new revenue-generating activities at and near the West Side Market, and facilitating long-term planning for the West Side Market."
After being introduced on Monday, City Council must pass the legislation before any proposed changes can take effect. 3News Mark Naymik will have more on the future of the West Side Market on "What's Next" at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1.