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Baltimore’s Cross Street farmers market eyes May 16 launch

A rendering of Cross Street Market currently undergoing renovations. (Submitted)

A rendering of Cross Street Market after renovations are completed. (BCT Architects)

While Cross Street Market has delayed the start of its farmers market, officials say the market remains on track to start running in May.

Caves Valley Partners and CANAdev, which operate the public market in Federal Hill, said Tuesday the year’s first farmer’s market is expected to happen on May 16. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the farmers market was expected to open Saturday.

“We’ll operate as a safer, more convenient open-air grocery store,” Candice Coolahan, marketplace manager at Cross Street Market, said. “Especially given the demand for essentials, we’re focused on supporting our local farmers and small business owners and providing our community with fresh food. We look forward to welcoming back our artists, artisans and musicians once restrictions are lifted.”

The farmers market will operate along East Cross Street between Light and Charles streets along the building’s south wall. The market, with the exception of July 4 and Sept. 5, is scheduled to open every Saturday up to Oct. 24.

When the farmers market opens next month vendors will still adhere to the social distancing standards health officials say reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Stalls will be at least six feet apart, hand sanitizer stations will be added and signs will advise customers to wear masks.

The market’s first hour of operation from 9 to 10 a.m. will be reserved for seniors. Cross Street Market is also asking shoppers to limit visitors to the market to one per household and to pre-order items to speed up trips.

Cross Street Market will also be cashless for the foreseeable future, while all seating, games and other activities are also restricted.

The market’s interior remains closed to the public, but vendors in the building are still delivering food.

Earlier this year the owners of Cross Street Market presented plans to add a roof deck to Baltimore’s architecture advisory panel.

The deck was needed to allow Atlas Restaurant Group to open the Atlas Fish Market at the public market building. At the time  of  the announcement, construction on the roof deck was expected to begin in February.

Caves Valley’s efforts to redevelop Cross Street Market stretches back nearly five years. In 2015 the developer started work with Baltimore on plans to overhaul the popular pre-game gathering spot not far from Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.

Eventually, Caves Valley and partner CANAdev, operating as CSM Ventures LLC, hammered out an agreement with the city regarding financing and deferred maintenance on the $7 million project in late 2016.

That pact, however, was nearly scuttled when some market tenants objected to the redevelopment schedule. Eventually the stakeholders arrived at a compromise that allowed for work to begin.

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