Detroit businesses housed in the Eastern Market building that partially collapsed Saturday are “devastated” after losing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and at least one said an emergency demolition order issued by the city will mean the end of their operations altogether.
Amid the turmoil for the five now-displaced businesses formerly operating out of the building, the city of Detroit declined to release inspection documents to BridgeDetroit related to the building that collapsed without a Freedom of Information Act request.
The four-story building at 2501 Russell was occupied by several tenants and is located in one of the busiest areas of the Eastern Market district. On Saturday morning a wall of the building partially collapsed, sending bricks and debris to the ground and injuring one passerby. Later that day, the city issued an emergency demolition order mandating that everyone immediately vacate the building and requiring the imminent demolition of the property. The businesses that occupied the space – Beyond Juice, Jabs Gym, Brooklyn Outdoor, j’adore Detroit, and Detroit vs. Everybody, as well as the owner of the building – have been denied entry.
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In an Instagram post Monday, Detroit vs. Everybody reported losing more than $150,000 in merchandise, gear, and new renovations due to the impending demolition. For j’adore Detroit, the emergency demolition means a permanent closing.
Over the last few days people have posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter and on Instagram, wanting to see inspection reports for the building, and citing concerns that the city’s emergency demolition order was rushed. Other community members have expressed wanting to see more efforts to save the 126-year-old building. One former tenant, Armond Harris, owner of Jabs Gym, told BridgeDetroit over the weekend that he had shared concerns about damage to the building several months ago with the landlord, but that nothing was done.
The emergency demolition order was issued before an investigation into the cause of the partial collapse was complete.
At j’adore Detroit, an event space at the top of 2501 Russell, murals and furniture made by local artists will be destroyed in the demolition, leading the business to decide to permanently close.
“Obviously we’re devastated,” said Lauren Van Haaren, an event manager for the popular event space.
“What we have in there – we have murals from local artists and a majority of our furniture has been crafted by local artisans and stuff – is just not something that we can replicate in another space,” Van Haaren said. “We’ll also be without any supplies or anything that we utilize for events,” she added, as tenants have been barred from entering the building.
Van Haaren said she had no idea anything was wrong with the structure before Saturday’s incident. She also works for Brooklyn Outdoors which was housed in the same building. Brooklyn Outdoors will be going remote, she said.
Detroit Vs. Everybody has started a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to replace the $150,000 lost to the incident and help relocate the business.Mark Russ, chief financial officer of Detroit Vs. Everybody, is worried that the $50,000 in renovations the company just did won’t be covered by insurance.
“We’re on the cusp of the holiday season, we’re tailgating – this is going to be a huge hit for us. So we’re looking for support from the community and support from some of our corporate partners,” he said.
“I’m completely behind the decision to demolish the building if it’s going to protect the community,” Russ added. “But for me, I’m hoping that this sheds a light on some of the real estate developers and landlords in the city for them to kind of take a look at themselves and to be honest, make sure they’re not shortcutting.”
For the other businesses affected by the incident, the Eastern Market Partnership released a statement Saturday saying they would be helping the businesses relocate in the district. Eastern Market did not respond Monday to a request for comment.