Who Runs Eastern Market?

Who Runs Eastern Market?

DCBlogs kindly linked to my post about Thursday’s Eastern Market Management Workshop with the phrase “Who Runs Eastern Market?”

I had actually avoided getting into that precise point, since that way lies madness and infuriated neighbors. Since the question has been raised, however, and to save confusion when the issue is verbally outlined at Thursday’s meeting, here is what is on the books – and what isn’t – to the best of my knowledge and ability.

There is a tedency for the powers-that-be to trot out Chris Calomiris or other veteran merchants as the face of the market, but officially the DC Government’s Office of Property Management (OPM) “supervises the management of Eastern Market and is responsible for implementation of capital improvements . . . .” Until 2001 one merchant rented the South Hall from OPM and sublet to the other merchants, and a community nonprofit group rented the North Hall directly as an arts space.

A volunteer group, Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC), with merchant, vendor, preservationist, neighborhood, artist, and farmer’s line representatives, theoretically helps “coordinate the work performed on Eastern Market.” Their willingness to sacrifice all their free time to this endeavor means these good people basically talk to OPM and each other about this stuff and that’s why you’ve never heard about them.

For the past few years OPM has contracted with Eastern Market Ventures (or Venture — documents differ) to manage Eastern Market. EMV apparently became a nonprofit group after getting the management contract, since that is the law.

So EMV runs Eastern Market. But who is EMV? Putting information from their IRS 990 forms in graphic form, here’s who:

Who Runs Eastern Market? 

Official addresses include 2450 Virginia Avenue, N .W . Suite E-31 (the Watergate) and the Maryland headquarters of Site Realty Group. Incorporators and officers are:

Richard Cohen of Capital Properties , Bruce S. Cook of Site Realty Group, and Stuart I. Smith of Site Realty and MilleniuM Real Estate Advisors (that’s his Watergate office). Several officers have relationships with American Bank.

Mr. Cook and Mr. Smith were originally the “Market Masters” but were apparently out of town when the recent fire occurred, and Bryan Cook of Site Realty attended to matters. Bryan Cook has now taken over as Market Manager. I asked Bryan Cook if EMV had issued any press releases after the fire; he assured me there were “plenty” of releases but, in an email, admitted there were none.

On the strength of its great record at Eastern Market (building a new farmer’s shed and developing an advertising logo of questionable taste) EMV, in its for-profit guise as as Market House Ventures LLC, obtained a contract to manage the historic Annapolis Market House, a relationship now beset with lawsuits.

So there you have it. The Eastern Market management plan and subsequent Request for Proposals for a new managing organization are the subject of Thursday’s workshop. The workshop consultant, from the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces (PPS), maintains that the RFP is somehow not the subject of the event.

But guess what? The only DC government notice of the event, a brief calendar entry, calls the event “Eastern Market – Market Manager RFP Meeting”  and lists a “meeting to discuss the RFP that will be drafted to help select the new Market Manager at Eastern Market.”

The meeting starts at 7PM at Hine JHS; doors open at 6:30 PM.

Photo from HABS; graphic by Mike Licht.

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5 Responses to “Who Runs Eastern Market?”

  1. Eastern Market Meeting Review « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] to the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the expiring market management contract, currently held by Eastern Market Ventures (EMV), but specifics of the two-inch-thick draft RFP document were not […]

  2. Eastern Market, Annapolis, and Site Realty « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] the same crew that the DC government pays to manage Eastern Market, only they call themselves Eastern Market Ventures (EMV) for that purpose. I guess negotiating the Annapolis deal and the resulting fiasco explains why […]

  3. Fact, Fire, and Fiction at Eastern Market « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] had long been an issue between merchants and Eastern Market Ventures, the management company contracted by the city for Eastern Market, which it […]

  4. Eastern Market — Fresh Hours, Stale Management « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] direct management of Eastern Market rather than extend the contract of Eastern Market Ventures (EMV), but OPM has declined to do so. An extension of EMV’s contract will be signed Monday.  EMV […]

  5. Holiday Housecleaning at Eastern Market « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] out to a phantom DC nonprofit called Eastern Market Ventures (or Venture – documents differ). Who is EMV? Primarily Maryland’s Site Realty Group, with apparent participation by principals […]

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