Situated across the Dequindre (pronounced de-kwin-der) Cut from Detroit’s Eastern Market, this area has an industrial past, vacant present, and an uncertain future.

The site is located on the periphery of Eastern Market’s artisanal food production area, within a short walk of the central market. Here specialty food products, such as locally packed sausages and distilled vodka, complement the market’s fresh food with a “Made in Detroit” culinary culture.

Detroit’s Eastern Market is one of the area’s most successful farmers’ markets and a historic and popular food destination. Its 4.5 acres are dedicated to fresh and specialty food stalls and halls serving wholesale and retail customers. Each Saturday market attracts up to 45,000 visitors, and the more intimate Tuesday market is ongoing during peak growing seasons. However, on non-operational days, the large site is primarily vacant – in part due to limited residential space in the mostly commercial and industrial area.

The Dequindre Cut, which once housed a bustling industrial rail line, has now been converted into a below-street-level, public greenway with running and bicycle paths amongst gardens and commissioned urban art installations and graffiti. Opened in May 2009, the cut is a pedestrian link to the Detroit riverfront in an otherwise freeway heavy urban core. Phase II will extend the cut and connect to Mack Avenue. The next leg to open runs through the area of focus for The Architectural Imagination.

The site is a transitional zone between Eastern Market and a largely vacant and deconstructed residential zone across St. Aubin Street to the northeast and the automobile oriented Gratiot Avenue commercial strip to the southeast.

The site and surrounding sites are zoned M3 – General Industrial District, defined as an “area where the modes of operation of the industry may affect any nearby residential uses” (City of Detroit Zoning Ordinance).