Eastern Market Corporation is trying to broker a deal to save Russell Street Deli

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Russell Street Deli. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Russell Street Deli.

The Eastern Market Corporation is making an attempt to save the Russell Street Deli.

The announcement comes after the restaurant said it's closing on April 28 due to a dispute between owner Ben Hall and developer Sanford Nelson. Nelson recently purchased the building that houses Russell Street Deli, then informed Hall that he was responsible for a $50,000 repair, and that he would have to increase Hall's rent to fix it.

Hall told the Free Press on Monday that he would have to shut down the restaurant, which has been in Eastern Market for 30 years.

The Eastern Market Corporation wrote this on its Facebook page on Tuesday:

Eastern Market Corporation (EMC) is deeply concerned about the situation involving Russell St. Deli and their landlord Firm Real Estate and the loss of a long-standing, iconic Eastern Market business.

In the end, Russell St. Deli’s fate should not rest on a contested repair bill. EMC stands ready to work toward a solution, to do everything in our power, to keep a long-standing business open as part of the market district’s valued mix of businesses that are so important to the city.

Nelson, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills and inherited his wealth from his family, has purchased around 20 Eastern Market buildings in the last year. Many commercial and residential tenants have left the market since then, or are planning to do so.

Among those are the Farmers Restaurant, Cultivation Station, Adam's Meats, Mootown, and more. Tenants have publicly and privately said Nelson is increasing rent to levels that they can't afford. Other business owners who are shutting down their businesses say rent increases have nothing to do with it.

Regardless, this much is true: Nelson purchased a lot of buildings in the Eastern Market, and for one reason or another, many longtime businesses and residents are now moving out.

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