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Crab house planned for historic Broadway Market

Adam Bednar//Daily Record Business Writer//March 28, 2018

Crab house planned for historic Broadway Market

By Adam Bednar

//Daily Record Business Writer

//March 28, 2018

Broadway Market. (Maximilian Franz)
Broadway Market. (Maximilian Franz)

Atlas Restaurant Group intends to open a crab and fish house in the south shed of the historic Broadway Market in Fells Point.

The owner, brothers Alex and Eric Smith, will be partnering in the venture, which is leasing the south shed, with Billy Tserkis, whose family runs the Captain James Restaurant. Baltimore Public Markets Corp., which oversees operation of five of the city’s six public markets, plans for both sheds of the Fells Point landmark to be overhauled at an estimated cost of $5 million.

“I used to come visit my grandfather at work for lunch as a kid and he would take me through a bustling Broadway Market. We look to bring back the hustle and quality of the historic Broadway Market, and we will make sure to honor its legacy by providing Baltimore with an authentic local fish and crab house,” Alex Smith said in a statement.

The name of the restaurant and additional details, such as its design, are expected to be released in the next few months. Atlas Restaurant Group’s Baltimore properties include the Elk Room, Ouzo Bay and Azumi.

Renderings for the overhaul of the market’s north shed were also released Wednesday. The Planning Commission is scheduled to review the final designs for approval on Thursday. Construction on that section of the market is expected to start in July, and a grand opening is anticipated early next year.

Plans for the long vacant north shed include a central bar and at least 10 vendor stalls offering a variety of goods. The structure’s parking lot will be turned into public open space with seating and lighting. Baltimore Public Markets Corp. plans to use the space for family-friendly events.

Construction on the south shed is expected to start in 2019 after the north shed renovations are complete. Businesses in the south shed will be able to stay there until the end of 2018. Tenants in the southern structure have been offered space in the building to the north, and according to the markets corporation, negotiations are ongoing.

Rehab of the south shed will involve what the markets corporation describes as “significant private investment.” Part of the overall project’s funding has been committed, and additional support is expected to be secured once construction costs are final.

Baltimoreans with ties to Broadway Market hope the new investment will reinvigorate the once-thriving emporium.

Attorney Peter A. Prevas’ family has a long history at the Broadway Market dating back to his grandfather opening a shop in the 1890s that evolved into a soda fountain. Eventually, Prevas’ parents — his late father Konstantine was also an attorney who represented Alex and Eric Smith’s grandfather, the late John Paterakis Sr. — took over Prevas Bros. lunch counter. Prevas started working there as a 12-year-old in 1971, and he remembers Broadway Market as a neighborhood hub among an eclectic mix of Greek sailors, hippies and tourists.

“I’ll be happy to see that block (of South Broadway) revitalized,” Prevas said, adding that construction in the area has slowed foot traffic to the vendors in the market.

Manuel Alvarez, 84, was born in Highlandtown and worked on tugboats in the harbor as adult. He often made the short walk from the docks to pick up staple items and buy fish. By the time he retired 30 years ago, vendors, still busy, were primarily offering carryout items like fried chicken. But his most vivid memories of the market are from his childhood.

“They had butcher shops where you could get rabbit, chicken, turkey, squirrel and anything else would be for sale,” said Alvarez, the father of author and journalist Rafael Alvarez.

Mayor Catherine Pugh issued a statement praising plans to redevelop Broadway Market and its potential to bring more visitors to Fells Point. The neighborhood, once defined by its docks, has transitioned into a retail and nightlife center.

“The north shed has sat dormant for so many years; we are thrilled to move forward with this revitalization that will support the community, local businesses and create jobs for city residents,” Pugh said in a statement.

Broadway Market is the second of the city’s public markets recently pegged for significant renovations. Caves Valley Partners and the markets corporation have partnered on a $7 million transformation of Cross Street Market in Federal Hill that’s expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2019.

War Horse Cities and the market corporation are in the process of finalizing a deal for a $5 million to $6 million overhaul of Hollins Market in west Baltimore. Lexington Market Inc. is also working out details of a proposed $40 million transformation of Lexington Market downtown.

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