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Lexington Market redevelopment town hall set for Wednesday

Lexington Market

City officials hope that an overhaul of Lexington Market will spur a revitalization of the westside Baltimore neighborhood. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

The team behind a roughly $40 million planned overhaul of Baltimore’s famed Lexington Market want to discuss design, safety and vendor recruitment issues during its first town hall meeting.

Restoring the market to its previous position as a community hub remains a priority as city officials seek to bring new investment to the Westside section of downtown. Seawall Development, in conjunction with Lexington Market Inc. and the Baltimore Public Markets, will host the gathering at 6 p.m., Wednesday at Lexington Market.

“We hope that this becomes an open and honest forum for Baltimore residents and stakeholders to help shape this community-owned project from the beginning, leading to true authorship and participation in the final product,” Pickett Slater-Harrington, Transform Lexington Market’s community engagement lead, said in a statement.

Seawall intends to hold several town hall meetings as the project progresses. It’s hoped a new Lexington Market is delivered by the middle of 2021. Meetings are expected to happen quarterly, and the next meeting is already planned for Oct. 9 at the same time and place.

Then-Mayor Catherine Pugh, Lexington Market Inc. Board Chairman Kirby Fowler and Seawall Development Principal Thibault Manekin held a news conference last October following the city and company signing a developer consultant agreement.

Prior to signing the agreement Seawall worked with Lexington Market Inc. to refine the development plan to make the project financially feasible.

Seawall has helped transform Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood from a fringe community roughly a decade ago into a growing community near Johns Hopkins University and Hampden.

Seawall’s project that attracted Lexington Market Inc.’s notice is R. House, a $12 million redevelopment of a historic former car showroom into a launching pad for aspiring restaurateurs. R. House remains one of the most popular dining and gathering location in Baltimore.

Baltimore and Lexington Market Inc., sought for years to redevelop the aging Lexington Market on downtown’s Westside.

Last summer a viral video of a rat scurrying around a case of baked good underscored the urgency of the project.

Efforts to build a new market started under then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Market Ventures Inc. launched a study in 2013 analyzing the best method to revitalize the market. About two years later, the company suggested a complete overhaul of the facility.

Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, later that year, were selected to provide architectural, engineering and specialty consulting services for the Transform Lexington Market Initiative. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., in association with Mahogany Inc., was selected in December 2015 as construction manager.

Plans to redevelop the market were released in late 2016. That scheme involved demolishing the east market building and erecting a new market on the south parking lot. The cost of that proposal, however, escalated from $35 million to $40 million to about $50-60 million.

Seawall’s plans involve a smaller building on the south lot and maintaining the east market building. Those changes are expect to save between $10 million to $20 million.

“We just didn’t have that kind of money,” Fowler said last October.


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