Ground-breaking is expected by the end of the summer for a new food market in Buffalo's Fruit Belt neighborhood that will specialize in fresh fruits and vegetables. The city planning board signed off on the project Tuesday.
The Common Council still has to give its okay. Once that happens, the St. John Baptist Fruit Belt Community Development Corporation will begin construction of a two-story, 7,000-square foot market on High Street. It will be known as the SweetPea Market.
Initially, the developer was planning to use a site where a Civil War-era home sits. But preservationists objected, so St. John Baptist identified a nearby site on High Street.
St. John Baptist Pastor Michael Chapman says there's a real need for a quality food market in that neighborhood.
"The Fruit Belt has been designated a food desert," Chapman said. "We decided because of the health problems that this neighborhood has, they need fresh fruits. They need fresh vegetables."
The new market, which will include a pharmacy, is scheduled to open next year. St. John Baptist is also pledging to develop the historic home at 204 High Street in accordance with preservation guidelines.