The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) met on November 24 in the North Hall. A parking discussion was once again on its agenda.
Market Manager’s Report
Market Manager Barry Margeson reported that October revenues were $95,214 with the North Hall having one of its strongest months with total revenues of $41,755. September revenue was $85,737 with North Hall revenue half of October at $21,490. Overall revenue has kick started the FY19 year with its strong performance.
Margeson reported that there are currently no South Hall lease meetings on the schedule and that he would be reporting on any updates. The South Hall merchants have now gone more than a decade without long-term leases.
There have been five Directors at DGS in this time period, each appointment setting back the lease negotiations while each newly appointed director has moved at varying speeds to become fully briefed on the Market.
Margeson said that the HVAC contract with the Department of General Services (DGS) had been approved and is now being guided by DGS’s Contracting Division, soon to be put out for bid.
According to EMCAC representatives, the HVAC system never functioned properly even at the time of installation. Presently $680,000 has been allocated for a new and fully operating system.
Market Parking at 700 Penn
A parking issue that has not part of the regular conversation at the Market has flared up between EMCAC and the Stanton East Banc (SEB) group who are the developers of the former Hine project now named 700 Penn. This dispute is over 50 parking spaces that have been made available to the two privately owned weekend flea markets and not offered for Market customer or vendor parking as was promised. Parking for Eastern Market was a key component of the community’s initial support for this project.
According to Margeson, two representatives of SEB informed him that it is SEB’s understanding that the term “Market Management” in the Planned Unit Development (PUD) and its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) refers to the two owners of the weekend flea markets.
According to Margeson the SEB is insisting that the language of the MOU incorporated in the Zoning Commission Order 11-24 refers to an “Eastern Market Trust” which was part of accompanying legislative language which died in the City Council.
The Eastern Market has been offered 10 spaces as a result of some preliminary discussions, and according to Margeson use of the parking spaces by the privately owned weekend flea markets is “close to zero. Most of the vendors are parking in the neighborhood.“
Chair Donna Scheeder began the discussion, stating: “We don’t agree with SEB’s interpretation with good reason. It is [parking] for Eastern Market that is being talked about.”
Scheeder then moved that EMCAC be authorized to raise the promised parking with SEB along with other issues that were negotiated by ANC6B as part of the MOU, specifically : “ to authorize EMCAC to pursue all issues in the MOU which are incorporated in ZC Order 11-24.”
EMCAC’s Tom Kuchenberg stated that “this is a typical corporate development. You get want you want and then you renege and renegotiate. That there is no adequate Eastern Market entity is transparently ephemeral.”
Richard Layman said that all other issues are “technically in the zoning order ( ZC Order 11-24).
The motion was approved unanimously.
As far as other customer parking options there was no discussion or any update on how the validated parking arrangement with Colonial Parking, owner of the C St surface lots and or underground spaces are proceeding. .
One internal housekeeping matter of consequence to the Market vendors was taken up with a report presented by EMCAC’s Susan Oursler.
Tasked with gathering information that might lead to a conflict resolution plan that could be adopted when there are issues between vendors and Market management, Oursler reported that she had discovered that DGS along with other city agencies has a “ombudsman” among whose functions are to assist in such conflict resolution.
Oursler discovered that a law passed two years ago clearly outlines such a process in the DGS agency. A debate ensued which included whether DGS procedures applied to contracted Market vendors or DGS employees or both. Oursler referred EMCAC to the existing web site’s email address (DGS.email@example.com), concluding “we need to use it.”