Mercato in Naples is getting a makeover

Reporter: Amy Galo
Published: Updated:

Plans are in the works this summer and fall to “refresh” Mercato in North Naples.

The popular local destination will be tripling the size of its 3,000-square-foot piazza to accommodate over a hundred annual events.

“We do close to 200 events a year,” said Valerie Cope, Mercato’s senior marketing manager. “So by having a better space for people to gather in the center of the property, I think we’re gonna really be the living room of Naples.”

The patch of grass is situated between Narrative Coffee Roasters and Bravo! Italian Kitchen, known as the central piazza, is already a favorite spot for many.

“I just left a coffee shop to come out here to study a little bit,” said a Naples resident, sitting on the piazza. “So I do like this area, and I feel like it’s underutilized.”

And it seems Mercato management agrees.

“We’re definitely elevating,” Cope told WINK News. “We want people to gather here. We want people to spend more time here. That’s why the piazza’s about to undergo a pretty big makeover.”

North American Properties, which manages Mercato, joined center owner PGIM Real Estate for this project. It’s aimed at upgrading common areas.

“I think that’ll probably be pretty neat,” said Joan Muschiatti, a Naples resident. “I think it’ll bring a lot of families outside.”

Plans call for more turf, seat walls, benches and a new permanent stage.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Leeza Arkhangelskaya, owner of the East-West Fine Art Gallery in Mercato. “There really isn’t that much in Naples that’s really geared for locals, and that’s geared for entertainment, not just shopping and eating.”

Arkhangelskaya also thinks it’ll bring in more customers to local shops.

The new-and-improved piazza will have colored overhangs for shade and new lighting, as well as a greater emphasis on Mercato’s iconic banyan tree.

“We love the banyan tree,” said Cope. “We’re going to be further illuminating that with some lanterns that are custom-made for us and also adding some changing LED lighting that we can program to go with music or holidays or whatever we wanna do.”

There are also plans to lower the green space, so it’s easier for people to walk onto Mercato’s main road, Strada Place, when it closes for big events.

Construction is set to begin in mid-July and should be done by November, just in time for the holidays.

“It’s a super exciting and the energy that we bring to Southwest Florida is going to just exponentially grow with this project,” said Cope.

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