Model D: Eastern Market Plan Calls for $50M in Investment Over 10 Years

Published on March 17, 2009 - 3:25 pm

by Kelli B. Kavanaugh

As work proceeds on Eastern Market's Shed 3, planning and fundraising for more capital improvements to the rest of the neighborhood continue. At two town hall meetings last week, Eastern Market Corp. president Dan Carmody presented an overview of his organization's comprehensive plan for the entire district called Eastern Market 360.

Shed 4 will be a new two-story market hall built on the lot just north of Shed 3. It will host approximately 14 food processing vendors on the ground floor -- think artisanal cheeses, organic tortillas and pastas -- and a teaching kitchen and classrooms on the second level. Plans call for Shed 4 and Shed 3 to share a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Shed 5 will be rehabbed with a focus on horticulture. The narrow Shed 6 will be widened for weather protection and a wind collector will be installed on top. The existing parking garage will be improved, and solar panels will be installed on its roof. Carmody says EMC's goal is for 15 percent of the market's energy needs to come from renewable sources.

Shed 7 will be substantially improved as a Growers Terminal, with an eye to improving the viability of the market's wholesale business. It will include a new terminal and docking facility and will be refrigerated.

Greening of Detroit is expected to break ground this year on a 2.5-acre market garden that will have a greenhouse and hoop sheds to extend the growing season. Carmody says the garden is about both food production and economic development -- the intent is to quantify job production as a function of garden acreage. Current estimates suggest that if just 20 percent of Detroit's food was produced locally (currently, that number stands at 2-3 percent), 4,700 jobs would be created, which would generate $20 million in taxes and $125 million in income.

As for the Eastern Market District -- bounded by I-75, Mack, St. Aubin and Gratiot -- the goal is to simplify its zoning which will, in turn, lead to an increase in the area's mix of uses as well as improving connectivity to other neighborhoods such as Downtown and Midtown.

The plan is based on brick and mortar construction, but there is more to it than that. Part of what Eastern Market Corp. aims to do with expanded and improved facilities is help to rebuild the local food system, with Eastern Market as a hub. The market already is part of the system's processing, wholesale and retail functions, but this more comprehensive market would also provide nutrition education, grower training, convert waste to fertilizer and produce food.


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