Two years and $22 million later, the historic South Hall at Eastern Market is just about ready to reopen. In fact, the temporary East Hall, where long-time vendors like Bowers’ Fancy Dairy Products, Canales Meats and Market Lunch have been operating since August of 2007, closed its doors at 4 PM on Sunday and the tenants have begun the process of transferring their equipment, their supplies and their inventories out.
Last month, the Mayor’s office announced that the Market would officially reopen on Friday, June 26th with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 AM. The next day, June 27th, will be an “all day celebration with music, face painting, food, entertainment and the newly remodeled historic market!” With those dates quickly approaching, we decided to poke our heads into the South Hall to see how things are progressing.
As we headed down 7th Street from North Carolina Avenue, we were more than a little impressed with the renovated streetscape outside the Market. Cobblestones in alternating colors give the block a feel that’s much more like a plaza or a pedestrian zone than a car-friendly thoroughfare. It should come as no surprise that the city is pushing to keep 7th Street closed to vehicles on weekends (a program that has been in place since the Market reopened post-fire, and one that has plenty of adherents and critics).
From the outside, little has changed about Eastern Market. The brick structure was largely unscathed by the fire, so the crews were able to address some minor cosmetic repairs without having to recreate the historic facade from scratch. Inside, though, quite a few things have been updated and replaced. The result is a modernized structure that retains its authentic character.