An old image of Cross Street Market.

The proposed renovation of Baltimore’s Cross Street Market, thought to be off as of last month, may be on again.

Caves Valley Partners, the developer chosen to renovate the public market, withdrew from the project in February, according to a joint announcement from the developer and the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation.

Caves Valley, headed by Arsh Mirmiran, was expected to sign papers by March 1 ending its involvement with the venture, but it never did so.

Yesterday, the developer issued a statement indicating it has had second thoughts about backing away from the project after receiving dozens of messages to stick with it. The plan called for a $6.5 million renovation of the market, with $4.5 million coming from Caves Valley and $2 million in public funds.

“Over the past month, Caves Valley Partners (CVP) received many messages from South Baltimore residents and businesses expressing disappointment that our plan to redevelop Cross Street Market was withdrawn,” the developer’s message stated. “As a result of their support and passion for their communities, we reconsidered the decision to abandon the pursuit of the project and are exploring scenarios under which it could move forward.”

The decision in February to end the agreement came after the developer stirred controversy with its construction plans and timetable, and longtime merchants were notified that they would not be part of the renovated market. Business owners were particularly concerned that the entire market would be closed for months during construction, rather than being renovated in phases.

Yesterday, the developer said it has come up with a new approach to improving the market at 1065 South Charles Street.

“After considering thoughtful objections to our proposed redevelopment plan and careful analysis, we are proposing a revised plan that we believe will address the primary areas of concern,” the message said. “We are confident a compromise solution can be reached that meets the needs of the greatest number of stakeholders.”

Key elements of the revised plan include:

  • Accommodating current merchants in a way that will enable them to survive the construction period. That includes “a simplified layout that phases in more limited upgrades and allows current merchants to continuously operate,” and “phased rent increases.”
  • A liquor license that ensures that food, not beverages, would be the primary focus of the renovated market.
  • Retaining Nick’s Inner Harbor Seafood, “if its owners are willing to engage in serious discussions regarding improvements to the physical conditions of the space, collaboration with other market merchants, and the quality and cleanliness of their operations.”

The new plan still needs approval from the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation. In its message, Caves Valley encouraged proponents of the modified renovation plan to contact public officials and show their support.

“We look forward to re-engaging stakeholders to discuss a modified redevelopment plan and what it will take to bring it to fruition,” the developer said.

The full message can be read here.

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.