Eastern Market Development Plans
The overall objective of Eastern Market Corporation’s Economic Development Strategy is to capitalize on the attractions and legacy of the Eastern Market in order to create a vibrant and diverse urban district in Central Detroit whose heart remains an even stronger Eastern Market.
The Eastern Market has been a mainstay of life in Detroit for more than a century, providing residents with access to the agricultural bounty of Southeastern Michigan, Northern Ohio, and Ontario, Canada.
It became the primary distribution center for crops, produce and meats for the region, and remains an important source of fresh foods for local grocers, restaurants, and citizens. As “Detroit’s kitchen,” the district’s gritty environment attracts businesses and visitors alike and compels them to return.
Careful redevelopment and a richer array of uses and attractions can reassert Eastern Market’s historic prominence relative to competing markets and attract more customers. The marvelous vibrancy witnessed each Saturday morning as Eastern Market springs to life can extend across the week to make the Market District more viable, sustainable, and successful.
Nearby neighborhoods, including Downtown, Riverfront, Brush Park, Midtown, New Center, Lafayette Park, the Medical Center, and adjacent Eastside neighborhoods will especially benefit from a stronger and more attractive Eastern Market.
To achieve this vision, six goals have been identified:
1. Strengthen the role of Eastern Market as the hub of a complete local food system. In addition to developing retail, wholesale and processing businesses that are food-related, the Eastern Market can complete the local food system loop by: Serving as a center for urban agriculture by hosting both a model market garden and urban garden training classes. Serving as an animated venue for improving education about food-related public health issues. Developing cutting-edge systems to convert waste streams generated in the district to provide energy to heat, cool and power facilities, and compost to increase food production yields.
2. Balance the great opportunities for economic development available throughout the Eastern Market District while maintaining authenticity and then use that grittiness to attract more creative people to live, work, visit, and invest in the district.
3. Create a mixed-use neighborhood that improves the business climate and enlivens streets and public spaces by carefully blending in a variety of residential forms. New uses should support and respect the food identity of the district.
4. Improve travel to and within the district and cultivate a unique sense of place by improving major corridors within the district. Streetscaping, façade enhancements, signage, parking, lighting, and landscaping all must be enhanced for the Eastern Market district to fulfi ll its potential.
5. Improve connectivity between Eastern Market and adjacent neighborhoods. The Dequindre Cut will greatly improve nonauto related connectivity between Eastern Market, the Riverfront, and Downtown. Strengthening Wilkins as an east-west corridor will improve Eastern Market’s connectivity to Midtown, which features major cultural assets and large employers such as Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center. The Wilkins Corridor can also improve Eastern Market’s connection to the East side neighborhoods where redevelopment around principles of local food systems can restore value to important neighborhoods. Reopening Russell Street north of Mack will improve connectivity to northeast side neighborhoods and Hamtramck.
6. Increase the density of Eastern Market by carefully integrating context sensitive new construction and artfully renovating existing buildings.