Eastern Market Corp. Announces Initiatives for Expansion, Includes Rent Affordability, Nonprofit Name Change

Eastern Market Corp. has announced several new initiatives dedicated to the expansion of Eastern Market and enhancing its authenticity. They are designed in part to keep rent affordable.
Eastern Market
Eastern Market Corp. has changed its name to Eastern Market Partnership and adopted development protocol criteria. // Stock photo

Eastern Market Corp. has announced several new initiatives dedicated to the expansion of Eastern Market and enhancing its authenticity. They are designed in part to keep rent affordable.

Eastern Market’s board of directors approved changing the organization’s name to Eastern Market Partnership (EMP), effective July 1. The board also voted to adopt development protocol criteria that developers must follow if they seek support from EMP for their district projects. An evaluation system which provides flexibility for developers to design projects that are profitable and strengthen Eastern Market District’s core values.

The two EMP development protocols outline 13 to 16 criteria that helps new projects to implement Eastern Market’s core values and support equitable development of the district. The development protocols are for mixed-use commercial development and for food businesses.

“These protocols will help maintain rent affordability and how projects promote the core values of the Market,” says Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market.

Criteria for mixed use commercial development includes offering below-market-rate commercial rental pricing and affordable housing. The former expresses that at least 10 percent of new commercial space will be made available at 25 percent less than the prevailing market rate for commercial space. The latter applies to developments that include at least 40 units of housing and states that developers must exceed existing minimum requirements for affordable housing established by the city of Detroit.

Protocols for food business development includes workforce program participation, in which food businesses participate in workforce development programs intended to connect Detroit residents with careers in food. The protocols encourage but do not require offering workforce housing.

The 100-acre Food Innovation Zone on the market’s northeast side is part of EMP’s development initiatives. For more than two years, the organization has worked with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and the city of Detroit to accommodate growth of about 1.5 million square feet of food processing and distribution space.

“This is about keeping thousands of jobs in the city by developing largely vacant land while improving the quality of life for existing residents and businesses who have survived decades of disinvestment,” says Carmody. “Creating or retraining thousands of food jobs is important to offer employment opportunities to Detroit residents.”

Construction on the Metro Accelerator on Riopelle and Adelaide streets has begun as the next phase in the incubation process. EMP is working to negotiate with five food companies that started in its Detroit Kitchen Connect incubator or currently sell their goods at Eastern Market.

Lease rates will range between $7-$11 per square foot. Major funders for the $3 million project include JP Morgan Chase, WK Kellogg Foundation, and the New Economy Initiative.

The criteria are being put in place shortly after media outlets reported sour relations between developers who have property in the market itself and surrounding neighborhood and market tenants. Some longtime tenants have left the market since developers acquired the property.

Eastern Market District, focused on food production, processing, and distribution, allows for people to grow their independent businesses. The market district operates vibrant markets, improves food access, incubates and accelerates food business, and provides nutrition education.

All of the criteria are available here.

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