Petition Launches For DC’s New Union Market

by Shilpi Paul

A rendering of Half Street Market.

For the past few months, a group of Capitol Riverfront residents have been agitating for and planning out a Union Market-like destination for their own neighborhood. Nathan Alberg, ANC Commissioner Ed Kaminski and a handful of others zeroed in on 49 L Street SE (map), the site of an empty, 30,000-square-foot warehouse, for the new space. With a team, they created pretty renderings for Half Street Market, envisioned as a space with artisan food vendors, cooking classes, small business incubators and a restaurant.

For awhile, however, all these plans just seemed like an optimistic dream. The federal government owns 49 L Street SE, and even if they decided to sell the building, a number of other parties would have dibs on the site before the community group.

But things may be looking up. Last week, Housing Complex reported that Congress will be holding a hearing this Thursday to discuss ways to use the property once again.

In advance of the hearing, the Half Street Market team has been reaching out to the community and gathering up allies. To that end, they started a petition in support of the project last Friday, which can be found here. As of this writing, they have about 135 supporters.

The group has also established itself as a non-profit, Rachel Reilly Carroll, the president of the new organization, told UrbanTurf. “We were very excited to learn about the House Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing,” said Carroll. In a tweet last Thursday, Councilmember Tommy Wells Chief of Staff Charles Allen confirmed that Wells will be testifying in support of the Half Street Market concept.

UrbanTurf will be attending the Thursday meeting, so look for an update later this week.

See other articles related to: union market, half street market, capitol riverfront

This article originally published at


  1. anonymous said at 9:43 am on Monday April 22, 2013:

    I love Union Market (and Eastern Market). But I wonder if D.C. can really support another establishment of this type.

  1. Nicolas Baca said at 10:15 am on Monday April 22, 2013:

    This is exactly what this area needs.  With all of the development in the area, a market and educational community incubator is perfect!

  1. Anonymous said at 10:28 am on Monday April 22, 2013:

    Union Market may be the most similar thing to what is being proposed, so it is easy to refer to it as such. However, the Half Street Market concept is very different as it incorporates a workforce development program, culinary small business incubator, a restaurant, and community education programming. It will be a culinary, retail, and hospitality education hub.

    With nearly 90 projects in various stages of planning and construction in the neighborhood (according to the Capitol Riverfront BID) and The Wharf development less than 1 mile away, there will be a strong demand for a year-round public gathering space like a market. With all of these new projects coming on line, it is important that D.C. residents are prepared to take advantage of these new employment opportunities.

    For more information, please visit our website and blog, as well as the I support Half Street Market petition. You can also follow us on Twitter - @HalfStMarket

  1. H Street LL said at 11:32 am on Monday April 22, 2013:

    I used to think over saturation was a problem, but Union Market is always full and a lot of people live near half st.

    Plus 30k sq ft is not that big. I think the bigger concern is that the fed govt will (rightfully) want a lot of money for the lot/building.

  1. Zesty said at 1:21 pm on Monday April 22, 2013:

    This is a good idea; I think that these “markets” create a greater since of community than other retailers. So far we have Eastern Market, Union Market and they are building Monroe St. Market. I think Half Street Market is a good idea.

  1. Zesty said at 1:23 pm on Monday April 22, 2013:

    I forgot to add CityMarket at O to that list.

  1. Anonymous said at 9:08 am on Wednesday April 24, 2013:

    Maybe a development partnership would allow the air rights above the building to be developed. That way GSA could get money for the land, and D.C. could gain tax revenue from the operation.

  1. anonymous said at 11:04 am on Friday April 26, 2013:

    Zesty - Monroe St Market is not going to be a “market” in the sense of Union Market - it’s more of a mixed-use development with an arts-district vibe (food’s not really the focus, though a grocery store is rumored to be in the works).

    City Market at O is just apartments with a Giant on the first floor, if I recall correctly.

    Either way, it seems like putting three very similar “market” developments (Union, Eastern, Half) so close together is a bit short-sighted. Half St Market would be within walking distance of Eastern Market. It would be a shame if the new development threatened the economic viability of a D.C. icon. Why not put something like this in, say, Petworth? Then the Green Line gets its market and a larger portion of the city will have access to places like this.

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