The Baltimore Street Market...
...in the Historic Glen Elk section of Clarksburg, West Virginia
"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." - Jonathan Swift
In a recent study conducted by Business Insider, The Capital Market in Charleston, West Virginia was rated as the most popular grocery store in the state. However, The Capital Market is much more that a grocery store. It is an adventure in shopping diversity.
What I find most interesting is that it began as a renovation project. Originally, the building was a run-down train depot - "Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others."
I searched for three days, covering multiple state and private sources, and poured through thousands of photos before finding this one. Although this is not the actual K & M Depot in Charleston, I have been told this is very similar to what it looked like before the renovation began.
This is what happens when a vision becomes reality. But, it takes dedication and commitment from a lot of people who share that vision to turn what you just saw into this - The Capital Market.
Keep in mind...This was an old neglected train depot only a few years ago.
Thousands of people visit every week.
It is an eclectic combination of gift shops, fresh produce stands, wine and cheese, chocolate, seafood and meat market, West Virginia gifts, flowers, and so much more.
An old train depot has become the most popular market in the state. Someone(s) saw something others did not.
It did not happen overnight...BUT, it did happen!
Now, I would like to share one of my many 'visions.' The difference between this and others: This one has all the pieces for success; Location, existing structure, plenty of parking, room for expansion and we already have a business model to borrow from - The Capital Market in Charleston.
Just like the Kanawha and Michigan depot in Charleston, Clarksburg also has its own depot and former rail yard.
However, this depot is still occupied by CSX, our local railroad company. When I took these photos, I also stopped by the depot to talk with some of the officials. I walked from room-to-room hoping to find someone, unfortunately, no one was in the building.
Nevertheless, since it is still occupied and apparently nothing more than offices, or so it appears, this would be my offer...if I had anything to offer: The city or a group of investors buy the depot and the adjacent land which was formerly the rail yard. With the profits, CSX could rent or buy local office space across or down the street. In a perfect world, CSX would donate the land and depot and erect a prefab building close by for their offices. Yes, there are flaws in my thinking and many unknowns, but it is possible. I really do not know who owns the adjacent land, or actually how much CSX owns. Just guessing. Remember, this is MY fantasy vision.
This was taken beside the corner of the depot looking out at what was once the rail yard. Plenty of room for expansion, vendors, out-door special activities, and parking!
This is the view from the other side of the rail yard, looking back toward the depot. What grand potential.
This is what the depot (black arrow) and rail yard looked like in its 'heyday' - 1978. The rail yard (left) is now the green field above.
These two photos were taken from behind the depot in the center of the tracks looking East and West. You can see a bit of the track-side depot on the far right.
The red lights made me a little nervous, so I did not stay long. I just thought these were interesting photos and gave some sense of the activity.
Yes, there are many unknowns regarding my vision for The Baltimore Street Market: Would CSX be willing to part with the property, if in fact, they do own it? What would be the cost? Would CSX be willing to relocate? Are there developers interested in the project? Is there enough people willing to work the long hours and dedicate the time? Would local politicians and business leaders support the project?
One fact (not an unknown) I must mention is the proximity of three nice restaurants. Julio's right across the street from the Depot. Merino Brothers across from the eastern end of the property. And, Gourmet Cafe just a block away.
I truly believe Clarksburg could recreate the energy and success surrounding Charleston's Capital Market. Especially, considering my city just spent $22 million renovating an old theater. This theater project is proof that good things can happen...providing, the Sun, Moon, and Venus all line up.
To reinforce my vision, I encourage you to visit The Capital Market website:
Once you have spent some time on this site, I hope you will understand and support my vision for The Baltimore Street Market.
Could become this...
...If the right people, with the right motives, and a willingness to take a bit of a risk all sit down together and say, "We can make this work!"
If you are a local, take a walk-about through the Glen Elk section of our city and see for yourself...the real-life potential for a vision to became an economic and social success - The Baltimore Street Market! Yes, I know there are social issues to overcome...but, "For every lock there is a key!"
And that is the way I see it.
Until next time, this is Michael saying,
"Never look back!"
Your comments, no matter how close or far they are to center are always welcome.
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