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'Seamless' transition sought at Broadway Market

When the group that operates the Broadway Market disbands in 17 days, city officials say they are determined to have a "seamless" transition as the search begins for a permanent operator.

The owner of a business that has been in the market for 16 years says she thinks the overhaul is just what the East Side facility needs as it struggles to reinvent itself.

"For such a long time, we've had this dark cloud over us," said Irena Woszczak, of Broadway Opticians. "Tenants think we're moving in the right direction."

Woszczak should know. The longtime member of the Broadway Market Tenants' Association is expected to be named vice president of the group next month.

The Common Council will consider a resolution today that its sponsor says deals with some "nuts and bolts" matters as the city puts together an interim management plan. The city also is soliciting proposals from those interested in operating the market in the long term.

Council President David A. Franczyk, who represents the Fillmore District, where the market has operated for 120 years, said his resolution will make sure rents are collected and all bills are paid during the transition.

Franczyk, who has been pushing for a management overhaul at the market since last spring, said no one need fear that the Oct. 31 dissolution of the not-for-profit operator will trigger a shutdown.

Franczyk has formed a 17-member study group to help chart a new course for a market where vacancy rates have increased and customer volume declined over the years.

Tenants recently met with Franczyk and Brian Reilly, the city's economic development chief.

Woszczak said the city should look for an operator that has experience in leasing, marketing and event planning. The Tenants' Association also hopes to play a more active role in staging events, she said.

The market's outgoing executive director, meanwhile, said a number of important financial issues remain to be resolved.

Richard M. Fronczak said the management corporation that is disbanding has up to $50,000 in assets that must be sold, including computers, desks, phone systems, market signs and cleaning equipment. The city has yet to state whether it plans to buy the assets of the not-for-profit group that has operated the market for more than two decades.

"If somebody doesn't want to buy them, we may have an auction," Fronczak said.

He added that he hopes the city understands it may have to incur some additional costs, including utility expenses. The city now pays half of all utilities.

Franczyk, the Council president, has expressed confidence that any added costs will be absorbed by rents that the city or an interim operator will begin receiving next month.


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