Eastern Market – Fresh Hours, Stale Management [UPDATE]

Fresh Hours and Stale Management UPDATE

Capitol Hill activists had hoped DC government would contract new managers for historic Eastern Market by now, but the inter-agency effort is predictably complex. The result: the city’s famous fresh food market will have the same stale management for another six months.

The good news: the market will be open longer hours starting next week, and restoration of the original building is proceeding on schedule.


According to Matt Hussman of the DC Office of Property Management (OPM):

In the January public meeting [consultant] David O’Neil said that the timeline was really tight—as it turns out, he was right. This is a very challenging procurement. It is essential that the scope of work be drafted with enough rigor to ensure the Market Manager performs well while leaving enough latitude to allow the Manager to be innovative . . . .  It is a challenge to draft a scope of work that achieves that balance.

Under the law governing Eastern Market, OPM cannot itself invite prospective managers to bid on the contract; it must go through the District Office of Contract and Procurement (OCP) and review by a community group, and this has put the process behind schedule.

Community sentiment at the January meeting called for OPM to take over 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 was in charge of the market when the original building was destroyed in a fire and, under another name, has been involved in a tempestuous failure to manage the Annapolis Market House.

The issue of new management for Eastern Market may become a higher priority for city government in future. The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) has a new member: City Administrator and Deputy Mayor Dan Tangherlini.

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