Reading Terminal Market's general manager is stepping down in order to run for office.

The market said Paul Steinke is slated to announce his departure, effective Dec. 31, at a Monday news conference.

Steinke, who has led Reading Terminal since 2001, said he's resigning this month in advance of a planned announcement of a campaign for an at-large City Council seat early next year.

He plans to officially announce his bid for a Democratic at-large seat in January, with the date and location for that event yet to be determined.

Steinke described his 13 years at the market's helm as good preparation for public office.

The market's "need to balance the interests of various constituencies and deal with them respectively" is similar to government, he said.

"It makes me feel like I've got good training."

Steinke, who was the founding executive director of the University City District before running Reading Terminal, said highlights from his tenure at the market include working to get the establishment open on Sundays, which happened in 2006; adding new vendors, renovated restrooms and a demo kitchen; and watching the site's business volume and reputation improve.

"Certainly seeing the market's profile and the volume of business rise over that period has been something that has been very gratifying," he said. "This market has become more of a centerpiece for Philadelphia's urban environment, an amenity for everyone who lives, works and visits the city."

Reading Terminal, which opened in 1892, is one of country's largest public markets and a top tourist attraction in the city. Earlier this fall, the venue at 12th and Arch streets in Center City was recognized as one of the "10 Great Public Spaces in America" by a Washington-based planning association.

Every great city has attractions like museums, parks and libraries, Steinke said. But, "not every great city has a great public market, and Philadelphia is fortunate to have one."

At Monday's news conference, the Reading Terminal's board of directors is also expected to announce plans for the market's leadership transition.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.
Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.