Seawall Development’s planned $40 million transformation of Lexington Market has received a $3 million bridge loan from Maryland.
The Department of Housing and Community Development provided the loan through its Neighborhood BusinessWorks program.
“We are proud to support the revitalization of the historic Lexington Market, which will create hundreds of jobs and support the long-term well-being of the surrounding community,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “This transformative project draws upon the market’s rich legacy and points to a bright future for downtown Baltimore.”
Seawall Principal Thibault Manekin told the Baltimore Development Corp.’s board in October his firm was completing financing for the project. Funding for the project, he said, included $30 million in New Market Tax Credits and an $11 million loan from Fulton Bank.
Construction of a new Lexington Market building is expected to start in the first quarter of this year. The new building, inspired by the Time Out Market in Lisbon, Portugal, is expected to be delivered in late 2021.
The new structure will be placed on a lot next to the current market’s arcade building. When the new building is finished Seawall intends to raze the arcade to make way for a pedestrian thoroughfare on Lexington Street.
Revitalizing the market includes changing the vendor mix. Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal provided the model for the blend of merchants that Seawall is seeking in the new market. The company has also solicited input from residents on putting together a mix of vendors that reflects the city’s overall diversity.
The longest continually operating public market in the nation, Lexington Market has struggled in recent years. Business has been hurt by crime in the area and worries over sanitary conditions, perhaps most vividly highlighted by a viral video of a rat scurrying in a case of baked goods in the market.
As of October there were 55 vendors operating in Lexington Market, a decline from 153 six years ago, according to Seawall.