Katz building marketplace joins nationwide trend of small neighborhood markets

Life is returning to the iconic Katz building at the corner of Westport and Main. Redeemer Fellowship bought the building last year and will begin hosting a farmers’ and merchants’ market there on the first Saturday of each month.

Midtown has farmers’ markets, sidewalk sales and community get-togethers, but a new community marketplace in the parking lot of the Katz building aims to be a little of each – and more. The marketplace is one of the projects of the four-year-old Redeemer Fellowship at 3921 Baltimore. According Redeemer community development associate Chris Gorney, the church got the idea from markets that are sprouting up across the United States.

“We’ve seen around the country where neighborhoods have come together in small and medium sized markets. They become sort of a third place,” he said, referring to the Ray Odenburg concept that people need gathering spaces outside their homes and workplaces to nurture civic engagement.  “The idea here is to create a third space that is operated by local businesses and is a celebration of the local community.”

Gorney says the church bought the building with the idea that it would be used for some sort of community good, but the exact use is still evolving. So far, the church is hosting the “Katz Arts Project,” allowing free space for artists who are creating art for a First Friday art show in December.

The kickoff for the new Katz Midtown Market is scheduled for Saturday, September 1. The 25 initial vendors include: farmers with their fruits and vegetables; local businesses such as Pryde’s of Westport and the Reading Reptile; and the Friends of the Library, who will sell used books.

Gorney says he hopes the market will create a greater sense of community in Midtown. “We want to help make Midtown safer, more economically prosperous, and culturally vibrant. We also want to be a place where small business owners can get to know other small business owners.”

The Katz Midtown Marketplace will be in the parking lot of the Katz Building at the corner of Westport and Main from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. the first Saturday of each month in September, October and November.

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