Faced with the uncertain future of its current location in the path of the planned Spaghetti Junction expansion and looking for room to expand, Creation Gardens, a local distributor of wholesale produce and gourmet foods, plans to relocate its facilities into the heart of the East Market Street – Nulu corridor.
Creation Gardens owners Ron and Mollie Turnier have placed three parcels on East Market between Clay and Shelby Streets under contract and plan to build a state-of-the-art retail and commercial distribution center on the corner of Market and Shelby Streets. The land is currently occupied by the Neurath & Underwood Funeral Home and a gravel lot used to store tanks for the adjacent Service Tanks business which will to continue to operate at its current location.
Plans call for a new 27,000 square foot facility that will offer fresh produce, gourmet food products, baked goods, meats, seafood, and chicken. The market will be open to wholesale buyers and the general public. About 17,000 square feet will house a “fresh-to-the-chef” distribution center and the remaining 10,000 square feet will contain a market open to the public. Also planned is a chef member’s lounge and resource library and a new restaurant could also be located at the facility.
The site of Creation Gardens’ expansion was once a food market years ago. First Link Supermarket, now located on East Liberty Street at Jackson Street, once operated a grocery store on the corner. Now, the corner and surrounding region are gaining a reputation as a food hot-spot in Louisville again. Besides the Creation Gardens announcement, Gill Holland and a group of investors plan a public market across the street stretching to Jefferson Street and a restaurant row is already well established.
Ron Turnier tells us that he hopes to create a “forward looking” building that respects the neighborhood’s existing cityscape. He has brought K. Norman Berry Architects of West Main Street to assist with the design. Turnier says he’s been meeting with the architects frequently to work out the final design challenges such as loading dock access to the facility. Creation Gardens will have a booth at this weekend’s Nulu East Market Festival to share his ideas with the public and display new renderings of the facility.
Creation Gardens is working with Village Solutions, a real estate consulting firm based in Anchorage, to help with the success of the project. President of Village Solutions Rick Hill says he has worked with Service Welding and Machine Company owners Carl and Earl Grier to develop a concept plan demonstrating how their entire site, nearly three-quarters of the block, could one day be redeveloped. (See Village Solutions’ rendering above and full rendering after the click.)
Rick Hill explains that while Service Tanks will continue to operate at its current site for now, someday the property will be redeveloped into a thriving pedestrian environment. The rendering isn’t meant to suggest what will eventually be built, but is “a long-term vision of what could happen one day.” Hill says the Griers have an excellent urban sensibility and want to see the site used to its fullest potential including preservation of existing historic structures and the Billy Goat Strut alley corridor. There’s currently no timeline for redeveloping the rest of the block.
Ron Turnier expects to attract over 200 chefs a week to the new Creation Gardens facility and anticipates that to draw the public as well. “Our new facility will be the shop where the chef’s shop and will be unlike any other market in the region,” Turnier explained. Creation Gardens will certainly help to anchor the East Market corridor as a center for food and art all the while providing for a grander long-term vision that could spread waves of redevelopment into surrounding properties and blocks. (Be sure to check out their booth at the Nulu Festival Saturday.)