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Eastern Market could become historic district, blocking potential demolitions

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News comes on the heels of developer Sanford Nelson announcing demolition of a building on Russell Street

Photo by Michelle Gerard

Less than a week after developer Sanford Nelson announced the demolition of an Eastern Market building, Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the city’s Historic Designation Advisory Board is in the process of designating the area as an interim local historic district. It’s the first step in what could lead to permanent historic district status, making it more difficult to demolish buildings.

At the request of Councilmember James Tate, the advisory board proposed the resolution to Detroit City Council. If approved, the board plus two additional members would study the issue over a year and “potentially recommend that City Council grant permanent local historic district status,” writes Kirk Pinho.

Crain’s also reported last week that the Nelson-owned Firm Real Estate was looking to demolish the 15,000-square-foot building at 2701 Russell Street. Mike Coney Island is a current tenant in the building, though he told Crain’s that he was leaving on his own volition. No demolition date had been set.

2701 Russell Street
Google Street View

In order to demolish a building in a historic district, an owner must complete a project review and structural assessment, then go before the Historic District Commission to get approval.

Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Partnership and one of the additional members listed in the advisory board’s request, told Crain’s that his organization is “generally in favor of regulatory measures that help us maintain the character of the market.”

In May, the Eastern Market Partnership announced that it had developed protocols for doing business in the district in the hopes of accomplishing that goal.