Bids have closed on a project that will revitalize Eastern Market at 255 7th Street SE, confirming Mayor Fenty's promises to rebuild more than six months ago. The Office of Contracting and Procurement received a total of five bids ranging in price from $7.5 million to $11.5 million and expects to finish due diligence on the final contract just after the new year, when the award package will then travel to the Office of the Attorney General for review. A hierarchy of approvals, on average a 15-day process, will commence at that point, after which time the DC Council will have 10 days to approve the contract. Although no sources were willing to give a timeline for reconstruction of the historic flame-gutted market, it has been estimated that efforts would begin as early as January.
The three alarm fire caused an estimated $20 million in damage to the 134-year old building on April 30 2007, the same day the Georgetown Library burnt down, requiring more than 150 firefighters to quell the destruction. The market, designed by Adolf Cluss (the architect behind the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building), had been in constant operation until that fateful Monday morning in April. The fire destroyed most of the South Hall, where the vendor's stalls were housed, and destroyed the roof above. Vendors have since been moved to a temporary location across the street, until the South Hall can be returned to its former glory.
A Notice to Proceed - the governments nod to begin construction - will be given shortly after the council approves (hopefully in January). Once the thumbs up is given, contractors will have a maximum of 400 days to complete the project. If all goes according to plan, we should have the historic structure back in action by Spring of 2009.