Welcome to Mercado, Mishou Sanchez's new plan for Tampa artists and business owners

St. Petersburg independent, non-corporate commerce has been growing by leaps and bounds, but Tampa has a long way to catch up to the city across the bay. Many blame the fact that commercial spaces downtown and in Ybor are owned by a handful of landlords who won't let go until they can score a big return on their investment from a real estate developer.

"If you're able to find it, so much money has to be spent on the building to make it work, and most of the time it doesn't have enough parking," laments artist and  Mishou Sanchez.

Sanchez has an idea to help solve the problem: Mercado.

Sanchez's team at Mercado has developed a plan that would ostensibly provide much needed affordable space on a 3.25-acre piece of land by Nebraska and Columbus avenues, land owned by the Florida Department of Transportation.

FDOT told Sanchez that it's willing to lease it to Mercado for a reasonable rate, with the condition it’s a limited land lease and the buildings are non-permanent.

So, what would be temporary structures with a repurpose-ful, hip cachet? Shipping containers.

Recycled shipping containers are a cost-effective method of creating space and are non-permanent structures, Sanchez says on her website.

"Basically, we are getting a great rate on the lease and because the construction method is cheap – we’re able to offer rent at incredibly reasonable prices and offer opportunity for small business incubators."

Sanchez says she pictures artists painting murals on the outside of the structures with fresh air markets filling spaces between makeshift galleries and food vendors. All in a centrally located spot by downtown and Ybor. Businesses will have the option to rent climate-controlled structures or non-climate-controlled containers at a lower price.

Check out more about the project at mercado.com or visit Mercado's Youtube channel for videos and testimonials.


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