FUTURE OF FLEA MARKET MORE SECURE
WASHINGTON, DC (September 1, 2013)—Diverse Markets Management (DMM), the owner and operator of The Flea Market at Eastern Market, the popular Capitol Hill Sunday market on the former Hine School property, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with developers Stanton-Eastbanc, to negotiate management of its market on the redeveloped site, DMM President Michael Berman announced today.
During the campaign to Save The Flea Market at Eastern Market, DMM became a party in opposition to the developers' Zoning Case, persuasively arguing the plan eliminated much of the market space, as well as diligently documenting the immense positive impact the Flea Market has had on the community: socially, economically and for small business development for DC. Documentary reports were published on the market's website www.easternmarket.net.
An important related facet of the campaign was to also promote the continued preservation of the independent Flea Market in drafted legislation for new Eastern Market management and structure, which called for a new overlay district that would encompass the new development and any space where the Flea Market might continue to operate.
However, the proposed legislation failed to pass out of a DC City Council hearing last month and "We felt that diminished prospects of the Flea Market obtaining a right to continue future operations," Berman said. "So DMM decided to try to negotiate future security with the developers rather than continue opposition before the Zoning Commission.
"Although I am still a strong advocate of better-designed public space to enhance and enliven a future area that already serves as a vital and thriving community hub, I felt that it was in the best interests of our exhibitors, their families and businesses that rely each week on the market, and our company to withdraw DMM opposition in order to forge a better relationship and right to a contract with the developer," Berman continued. "In this way, we can perhaps work together on the best design outcome, including activation of vending within and around the project. And most importantly, we can better assure the future security of continued business for our exhibitor community.
"In the short term, the City honoring its present agreement with us 'until start of construction,' does seem more secure," Berman said. The developer's timeline cites July 2013 presently, but in fact that is dependent upon a planned September 10 Zoning ruling, he said. "With the LOI, we are hopeful that we can operate when the project is built.
"Now, the utmost importance is securing of a temporary street closure of the 300 block of 7th Street SE, once the construction begins so DMM can continue to operate a market during the construction period.
"We can't thank the neighborhood and our supporters enough", Berman said. "With the strong support of hundreds of Capitol Hill residents, and thousands of supporters who signed petitions, wrote letters of support for the Flea Market, testified at hearings, and sustained activity relaying the importance of the Flea Markets; and the commitment of Councilmember Tommy Wells to ensure the continuance of independent weekend Flea Markets, the message of protection of the markets has been loudly felt and heard".
The preliminary zoning ruling on the project will be September 10. On September 11, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B has scheduled a formal action on the support for the temporary street closure on behalf of the weekend flea markets.