Everything you need to know about the planned Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham

Pepper Place
A rendering of what the proposed Market at Pepper Place pavilion could look like, once complete. Rendering via MASS Design Group

Earlier this month, CBS News’ 60 Minutes spotlighted architecture firm MASS Design Group and their plans for a re-imagined Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham. To learn more about the vision, we turned to Leigh Sloss-Corra, Executive Director at The Market. Keep reading to learn more.

About The Market at Pepper Place

Pepper Place
A proposed design of The Market, located between 1st and 2nd Avenues South (Design is not final). Rendering via MASS Design Group

“To connect Alabama’s finest producers with consumers in the Birmingham area, making fresh, healthy food accessible to all our neighbors while creating a vibrant local economy and a community meeting place.”

The Mission of the Market at Pepper Place

A staple of Birmingham for over 20 years, The Market at Pepper Place is a gathering of local farmers, artists, musicians and more, taking place on Saturday mornings between late spring and early fall. From its humble beginning as a handful of tents & farmers in Pepper Place, the Market has grown exponentially, bringing in 10,000+ visitors each Saturday to peruse through locally-made products from Alabama farmers.

As The Market at Pepper Place was planning its 20th Anniversary, Market leadership began working with MASS Design Group to discuss a permanent structure and park for the Market at Pepper Place. MASS Design Group’s previous work includes the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice, located in Montgomery.

Although the designs, specifications and actual location are not set in stone, the proposed Market at Pepper Place project includes a permanent pavilion, which will allow year-round events and help connect the community in new ways.

A Re-Imagined Market at Pepper Place

Pepper Place
Rendering via MASS Design Group

To learn more about the vision for The Market at Pepper Place, we sat down with Leigh Sloss-Corra, Executive Director of The Market. Since 2000, Leigh and her sister Cathy Sloss Jones (President & CEO of The Market) have grown the Market into the nationally-recognized event that it is today.

What is your vision for The Market at Pepper Place?

Leigh: “Birmingham is a landscape that is constantly changing. We’ve long dreamed about using The Market to connect Pepper Place to the Jones Valley Trail, which will ultimately extend from one end of Jefferson County to the other. I think that’s what markets do—bring everyone together.”

What can people expect to see at The Market once the project is complete?

Leigh: “The idea for The Market at Pepper Place—with the pavilion, the community garden, the park and more—is to make The Market better at what it already is—a gathering place. The Market is a place where people can bring their dogs and kids while they shop for fresh produce. It’s a space to relax, hang out and just be in the air together. It’s a community space.”

What new opportunities can people experience at The Market at Pepper Place?

Leigh: “We’re working with MASS Design Group to see how we can best utilize the space, once the project is complete. A lot of similar markets end up using their interior pavilion space as a food hall, where vendors can make their products available throughout the week. And people are always looking for new places to have meetings and gatherings! The pavilion could become a place for people to have work meetings, family gathering, weddings and more.

In addition to the pavilion, the design includes a possible community garden at The Market. The community garden could be used for teaching opportunities, showing people how to literally grow and pick their own food. We’d like to do cooking demos with herbs or tomatoes picked right on-site.”

Although the design and budget of The Market at Pepper Place is still in the works, the plan is to break ground in 2022 and have the new Market complete by 2023!

Want to check out The Market at Pepper Place before year’s end? The final Market of 2021 is December 11th, so mark your calendar! Stop by between 7AM and Noon to find all the locally-grown produce your heart desires!

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Nathan Watson
Originally from Leiper's Fork, Tennessee. Birmingham-Southern '19.
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