Tuesday, September 18, 2018

CHI's proposal for Market House includes food vendors, restaurant, social venue

The Columbia Historic Market House

[Part of this article was published previously on Columbia SpyNOTE: Another proposal for the Market House, from Royal Square Development & Construction, will be presented at a special meeting on Tuesday, September 18 at 6 p.m. before the Public Works and Property Committee meeting.]

At the September Columbia Borough Council meeting, Philip Goropoulos of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) presented a proposal for use of the Columbia Historic Market House, which has been vacant since December of last year.

During the hour-long presentation, Goropoulos said CHI’s proposal focuses on four main areas: Food, Restaurant, Social, and Gathering.
  • Food: 9-20 vendors would provide fresh food at custom-built stands Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; an “after-market” Thursdays and Saturdays. Vendors who sign on must be there at least 75% of the time the market is open. 
  • Restaurant: Seating for 40-50 people, lunch and dinner, open Tuesday through Saturday; breakfast might be an option, as would “Pay-What-You-Can Tuesdays,” to be underwritten by CHI. 
  • Social: Venue for events, activities, movies. 
  • Gathering: Hub within the community, town halls, large meetings, safe spaces, etc. 

The building will remain the property of the borough, and CHI will be responsible for management and operations. Goropoulos foresees using a management agreement, similar to that used for the operation of Columbia Crossing. The borough will be responsible for restoration of the building.

Goropoulos said the proposal was worked on by committee for about a year to “revitalize and re-energize” the Market House. CHI will equip it and get it set up for operation. Once the equipment is placed in the Market House it will become assets of the borough. CHI will also cover all utilities.
 
The proposed management agreement calls for the initial term to be for five years, after which it becomes a year-to-year. Within those five years, the structures, market traffic and consumer base will be created, with the focus on the needs of residents. If all goes as planned, the operation will be financially self-sufficient within that time, after which the borough may decide whether to assume operations of the facility. If the borough is not ready, it can decide to continue the agreement with CHI, according to Goropoulos.

All profits made while CHI is participating in the operation will be deposited into a trust specifically for the Market House. When operations are finally transferred to the borough, the funds will also be transferred in order to continue the operation.

Major renovations to the building will be the responsibility of the borough, but CHI will be responsible for renovations for the restaurant. Revenues will be written to CHI, and lease agreements with vendors will come to CHI. CHI would absorb up to $65,000 of losses per year. If losses exceed $65,000 per year, CHI will meet with the borough and report that. “If everything goes badly, you’re still talking about $400-500,000 dollars coming into the borough from CHI,” Goropoulos said.

“There’s a buzz that we’re generating in Columbia.” he added. “I think the combination of the hotel project, child care center, other activities in Columbia are starting to create an excitement in the town and in the community that's going to create kind of a wave that I think the market can help ride and bring more people in.”

Councilman Cle Berntheizel was also optimistic about the proposal: “I remember a time - being on council in the 90s - when realtors in Lancaster would say you don’t want to go to Columbia; don’t buy in Columbia. But that has now changed 100%. And some of the top real estate agencies are saying if you’re smart, you’ll look at Columbia.”

Goropoulos did admit, however, that CHI has never undertaken a project like this anywhere before, prompting resident Frank Doutrich to ask him why he thinks it will work here. Goropoulos replied, “I have faith.”

15 comments:

  1. Council isn't fooling anybody that is smart, what a joke. These ridiculously high taxes will always keep people away. Realtors continue to say "you don't want to go to Columbia"!

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    1. That's funny. Have you talked to a realtor lately? The housing market in columbia is on fire right now. Besides, school taxes are the killer, not borough...

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    2. And codes dept are also a killer

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    3. Yes, my niece is a very successful realtor in Lancaster City. She would never advise anyone to buy in Columbia, she has a conscience.

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  2. That's just funny, the market trust said no to a gathering place buy stuff and leave, they didn't want people to sit around and talk

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    1. Columbia's double standarts

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  3. Mayor said 1 1/2 million to up grade FART YUP

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  4. LNP had story last week. Way to have first newa, first!

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    1. I don't know who you are, "Anonymous," and by "newa" I assume you mean "news," but if you had been paying attention, you would have seen that the first part of this article was posted last Thursday, the same day as the LNP article. Today's article is an expansion of the first article, something you won't see on LNP. We also included additional items from the council meeting as well as a photo of the CHI speaker, something you won't see on LNP. In between, we posted several other articles and photos - also something you won't see on LNP.

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    2. Besides, we're free. You have to pay for LNP.

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    3. Pay no mind to the simpleton, Cole! The rest of us are paying attention.

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  5. Anonymous is an asshole everytime he shows up. Lol.

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  6. Why do we still have a council person that owes taxes from years passed?????????

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    1. The way it is set NO ONE WANTS ON WITH THE REST OF THE ONE SIDED PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN ON THERE FOR (to many) years .

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