FOOD MERCHANTS RETURN, EASTERN MARKET REVIVED
Washington, DC-- Eastern Market food merchants displaced by the April 30th fire are relocating to a new temporary structure dubbed the East Hall and will open for business on Saturday August 25th. This will mark the return to full operation of all Eastern Market activities since the fire.
Mayor Adrian Fenty will cut the ribbon Saturday morning at 9:30 am to officially open the East Hall at 7th & C Streets, SE, according to a release from Bill Rice of the DC Office of Property Management (OPM), which oversees the new facility, erected across the street from Eastern Market, whose South Hall was devastated in the fire.
"The rapid response of the Fenty administration will be applauded as an example of government at its best," exclaimed Michael Berman, Communications Director of The Flea Market at Eastern Market.
Tom Rall manager of the popular Sunday flea market claimed, "While both we and many of the market businesses have been open since the fire, business has been off throughout the neighborhood. It should recover rapidly now as customers rediscover the full market offering."
Rall said a tour of the new building yesterday revealed an attractive, sparkling setting full of bustling activity as merchants prepared for the reopening. "Most of the familiar faces were already there," he said.
The tour also revealed that a last minute decision had been made to resurface the entire adjacent Hine School Playground, which is also used by the weekend flea market. "That was an unexpected plus," Rall noted, "because the surface had been badly damaged by construction activity. The resurfacing will be safer than a patch job.
Another positive aspect will be what Berman called "great synergy between the new structure and the flea market activities on the school grounds". While a fence separates the building from the school property, a twenty foot wide gateway in the middle of the fence provides direct access between the two. "This will likely boost pedestrian flow for both activities", Berman explained.
"Stacey Norris, Acting Coordinator for OPM at Eastern Market, also confirmed that Seventh Street between C Street and North Carolina Ave. SE will continue to be closed on weekends," Rall reported. "That was particularly good news because it maintains an alternative venue for farmers and exhibitors who are displaced from areas around the market reconstruction."
"Now the main thing we have to do is tell everyone to come on out and see us," Berman concluded.
The East Hall will be open Tuesday through Sunday with similar hours to those of the South Hall previously: Tuesday-Saturday from 7am-6pm, and Sunday from 9am-4pm., Norris said. The Flea Market at Eastern Market will continue its advertised 10-5 Sunday schedule.