EDENS sees a bright future for the Union Market district defined by people, passion and possibility. An urban village born from the diversity of the dreams and energy of the nation’s capital. An authentic market of culture and commerce. A true gathering place that serves as an inviting melting pot of old world heritage and new world opportunities. From its roots as Centre Market, a fresh food venue born over 200 years ago, it’s been a great unifier for DC – connecting people from a variety of backgrounds. It will prove to be that creative spark again. An authentic district that expands beyond its culinary origins to include music, retail, hotel and residential uses. An organic source for economic growth, Union Market is a vision that has to be realized. It will be DC’s discovery destination. A pioneering place where vision not only matters but materializes into a thriving, relevant and culturally rich district of sights, sounds and tastes.
Centre Market, once the largest market in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in 1871. By 1900, it was the center of a vibrant commercial life in Washington, D. C. Close to a railroad station and streetcar lines, sitting between the White House and the Capitol Building, the market was a crossroads for all of Washington, D. C. After years of success, it was torn down in 1931 to make way for the National Archives. Undaunted, many of the businesses relocated and created a new venue, Union Terminal Market at 4th Street and Florida Avenue NE, an area close to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Freight Terminal and highways to Maryland.
Union Terminal Market opened to the public in February 1931. The market featured large, airy, well lit indoor stalls for 700 vendors, cold storage vaults, elevators and a public café. Vendors sold meats, fish, dairy and produce six days a week.
In 1962 however, the city banned the outdoor sale of meats and eggs which essentially killed the farmer’s market foot traffic. A new indoor market was built in 1967 (the building which is now the revitalized Union Market).
Wholesale operations continued to grow in the broader market area until the 1980s when the aging industrial spaces began to show signs of wear and tear and many of the original merchants left the area for modern distribution centers and supermarkets in the suburbs.
It’s the people that make the place. Union Market is a place where businesses scale and grow – where neighbors, students, DC transplants, artists and tourists come to find a community they can shape and call their own.