It looks like the renderings won’t turn into reality at the public market in Federal Hill. The developer who signed on to helm the overhaul of Cross Street Market pulled out of the deal on Wednesday.
According to the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation, Caves Valley Partners request to terminate the agreement after a “divergence of opinions on the future vision of the market.” The decision is effective March 1, giving BPMC time to reassign employees back to the market.
CVP announced the deal in November to oversee the $6.5 million redevelopment, and manage the market once it was complete. The firm also said it would contribute $4.5 million to the project, and pay the city $120,000 a year to operate it.
The decision to end the agreement comes 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. Merchants were particularly concerned that the entire market would be closed for months during construction, rather than being renovated in phases.
Councilman Eric Costello, who represents South Baltimore, said he was “very disappointed” with the decision.
“Public-private partnerships on municipal markets are extremely complex and challenging. Funding must be cobbled together from multiple public and private sources and margins are extremely thin. The fact that CVP was the only team to respond to the RFP demonstrates truly how challenging this effort was,” a statement from Costello said.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement that the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation “is reviewing its options” and will again engage community residents “to fulfill the vision” for the Federal Hill location.
“Public-private collaborations will be key, and I want to see Cross Street Market become what the community wants and certainly deserves,” she said.
Reaction to the decision was mixed on social media.
“I know a lot of people want a new market, and I do too, but this gives the community a chance to start over with somebody who shares OUR vision, not somebody who wants to force THEIR vision of market down our throats,” said area resident Ben Harris on Facebook.
“This is a very sad day for the neighborhood,” countered Christopher Michael. “Nobody will touch that place – and it will continue to crumble to the ground.”
“Who is going to want to be involved in this project now?” asked Sean McCullagh. “Huge mistake.”
Ed Gunts contributed to this report.