Another tower will be announced in the area soon. Many stories on a familiar site. It will be share a name with a famous drink. Still, that area has got a long way to go.
I would also argue that RQ is closer to DT and Pearl restaurants than the CEID site.
You're absolutely right--but that area is a mess. We Portlanders either drive through it or around it but rarely stop. It's car culture and needs years of fine tuning. It's just not right for a public market. The Central Eastside near clarklewis, bakery bar, etc is very up and coming. Plus, a lot of the innovative cooking is happening more and more on the close-in Eastside: Le Pigeon, Simpatica, Rocket (which opens this summer), Lastro, restaurant row on 28th, some new stuff opening on 12th this summer...restaurants on close-in Division. Larger downtown places are not likely to use the market--smaller ones will. There's a lot of momentum and the creative community has embraced the Central Eastside. It's Portland. The Rose Quarter may as well have been airlifted from Phoenix.
It's also a quick walk across the Hawthorne bridge from the CBD--The walk across the Broadway bridge is less scenic and lands you in a pedestrian mess. You could also incorporate a water taxi because there's a link to the water.