Size of Weekend Flea Market Cut in Half in Hine Development Plan

Size of Weekend Flea Market Cut in Half in Hine Development Plan:

Developer Suggests Options Exist for Accommodating Overflow Elsewhere

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, the ANC6B passed a recommendation to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on the two remaining Hine buildings coming before the Board next week.  The memo expresses the ANC’s concern about the downsizing of the popular weekend flea market as the result of confining it to the plaza planned for the intersection of 7th and C Streets.

The memorandum notes, “[w]hile the size of the plaza itself has not changed since February, the number of tents it is depicted to support has changed.”  The memo goes on to note that the original RFP (Request for Proposal) plans called for support for over 100 tents.  “Plans presented in February 2011 depicted 72 tents,” the ANC noted, and “the latest design depicts 68 tents.  The current weekend market supports up to 140 10×10 tents. While the Board (HPRB) has given preliminary approval to the overall site plan, the apparent reduction of weekend market space suggests that the Board might want to review alternate configurations that would meet the terms of the city agreement and respond to community input.”

In a meeting with neighbors last Sunday night, StantonEastbanc suggested that there were ways to accommodate additional tents.  Ideas floated at that meeting included closing C Street between 6th and 7th Street, or 7th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and C Streets on weekends.  Those ideas, however, appear problematic, at least on their face, given the controversy which arose over Mayor Fenty’s decision to close 7th Street next to Eastern Market on weekends.  Another idea which has emerged in previous neighborhood discussions is using Eastern Market Metro Plaza for part of the weekend market.

Commissioner Garrison urged, while making clear he was not pushing for an increase in the number of spaces for tents,  that the developer enter into a conversation with “Eastgern Market” about how many tents were actually needed for the weekend market. Commissioner Metzger suggested that a reduction in the total number of tents might be beneficial, raising the “quality,” though he did not specify what he meant by that.

The final version of the memorandum, which passed on a 9-0 vote, contained an ANC recommendation that the developer discuss the weekend market with flea market managers. Commissioner Brian Pate noted that the language was being agreed to in the context of new legislation from Councilmember Wells’ office to restructure the Eastern Market management.  It is unclear how this may affect the timing or nature of these discussions.

The developer’s current plan for a double row of back to back tents on the project’s plaza can be viewed here:  (Scroll down to L-03, about 19 pages down in the document.)


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11 responses to “Size of Weekend Flea Market Cut in Half in Hine Development Plan

  1. dcindy

    Why take a position on an issue (number of tents to be accommodated at the flea market) without being prepared to articulate the reasons why? There is a pattern here of this Commissioner’s failing to offer rational reasons for the positions he’s taking, or, more importantly, how those positions are informed by those of his constituents, as opposed to being the product of his own biased beliefs.

  2. Whoa_now

    Does the current Mkt number (supports 140 tents) include the street, as well as infront of EMkt, Pool? or does it only include the parking lot area? This would make a big difference. How many tents are slotted for the current parking lot, how many tents are we losing?

  3. The Flea Market at Eastern Market, which operates every Sunday in the Hine Schoolyard, and has had a lease agreement with DC public school for this space for 19 years and provides space for 155 10×10 tents, as well as 75% of the parking to accommodate the vending activity. The current proposal is about a third of the size. Further, there is an application and jury process for accepting new exhibitors, as well as policy for products that are prohibited, and products that are under moratorium in order to keep diversity standards in place. Both Saturday and Sunday flea markets operate independently of Eastern Market, and are managed separately.

    Michael Berman
    Market Manager, Flea Market at Eastern Market

  4. The current lease provides space for 155 tents – how many of those spaces actually get used? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere close to 155 tents set up.

  5. Alex B. – Commissioner Pate did a count of the tents a few weekends ago and counted 140.

    DCindy – I don’t believe we did take a position on the number of tents, but tried to lay out the circumstances and evolution of plans to accomodate the market, which is part of an agreement the developers have with the city. We felt this was important to raise with the HPRB. There was quite a lot of comment from the audience on this, so while we have not been prescriptive about a solution we did think it was an important concern to raise.

    This market issue was just one of many that was addressed in our resolutions last night. We have the final copy now and I will forward to Larry for posting if he choses.

    • Ah, good to know. I guess I hadn’t actually stopped in the flea market yet this summer, I’ve only been strolling up and down 7th – last time I ventured in there was in the off-peak season when there were far fewer than 140 vendors present.

      That said, I think the plans that support ~70 tents would be just fine. Finding room for another 70 tents shouldn’t be a reason to make the plaza larger or (worst case) retain that surface parking lot. Moving a portion of the flea market on days that they actually require more than 70-some tents to the Metro Plaza would be a great way to help bridge the gap and connect the retail areas of 8th Street to 7th Street.

    • dcindy

      I was speaking of Commisisoner Metzger.
      And I would suggest that, instead of a “count of tents” on one particular day the Commissioners address the issue of the current lease agreement, taking into account the CAPACITY in the lease.

      • Fair point on the “count” but it was all we had to go with. I found out afterwards that representatives from the market were in the audience and decided not speak up or offer any correction. I think it is a very open question as to what the right size is and in raising this issue I asked the developers to get together with the market folks prior to the HPRB hearing, but also assume this is going to fully be addressed in the PUD process.

  6. Vernon

    The further this progresses, the more it becomes apparent (to me) that Stanton-EastBanc is doing all it can to appear to be progressing on this development while placing just enough “roadblocks” to retard the process. My conclusion is that Stanton-EastBanc actually wants to be relieved / removed from this project.

    I think their wish should be granted and the city should move immediately for new proposals while, at the same time, seek recovery of costs from Stanton-EastBanc for hindering the project and for executing a classic “bait and switch:. In my opinion, Stanton-EastBanc has not operated in good faith.

  7. Steve

    There is no way that that much brick between the facade and curb (like at the Ellen Wilson gentrification project) meets LEED standards, much less silver. The percentage of impervious surface has just increased dramatically based on these pictures. The elevated tree boxes LOSE rather than retain storm water. The “well” path identified next to the building will have to be plumbed under ground, then drained to the District sewers. This is yet ANOTHER change from every previous presentation that goes in the wrong direction.

  8. Current rents are sky high all around the Eastern Market Metro. Right now, small bussenises cannot afford to stay in this neighborhood. Only established, large chains can afford these rents. Workers in the restaurants and shops must already live far away, and come in by metro. More buyers, more people, will bring higher rents. More money for Kitty Kaupp. National chains do not pour money back into the local neighborhoods their profits go to wall street banks. The local character is a golden egg after years of struggling, barracks row has made it grasping landlords along 8th Street SE notwithstanding. A modest increase in retail will help during weekdays. An increase in the number of office workers will also help. But we do not need the greedy demographic supplied by Eastbanc. We already fulfill the needed population around this Metro stop. Planners were thinking of many other Metro stops where development is needed greatly. For Eastern Market Metro area, more is less.