Lexington Market, which is undergoing a $40 million reconstruction project, is searching for a developer to take on the East Market building once the new South Market has been built.
The nonprofit operator Lexington Market Inc., issued a request for proposals (RFP) Tuesday asking for plans that fit with the character of the areas surrounding the market, such as the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District, Market Center National Historic District, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus.
In February, state and city officials broke ground on a project to reconstruct Lexington Market, downtown Baltimore’s 238-year-old public market. The development will include the construction of a new South Market building on the current parking lot. Crews will also tear down the Arcade building, which stands between the East Market and the parking lot, and convert it into an outdoor public plaza.
Lexington Market vendors currently operate out of the East Market, but they will move to occupy the South Market, which is slated for completion in late 2021.
The operators are planning for “a seamless transition of vendors” from the old to new market, “with no gaps in service for Lexington Market customers,” said Dave O’Donnell, the Director of Development for the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation.
Once that transition occurs, the nonprofit hopes a new developer will begin construction on the East Market so that it can be put to new use.
The nearly 67,000-square-foot East Market is located at 220 N. Eutaw St. O’Donnell said the operators are looking for architecture that is “contextually appropriate in scale and design” and he said the developer should offer community members something new in that space.
“The area around the market has suffered from years of disinvestment and we are seeking proposals that can serve residents, workers, students and visitors with opportunities that currently do not exist,” he said.
During the February groundbreaking for the new South Market, Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, noted some of the East Market’s infrastructure issues, including its sloping floor.
O’Donnell said the new development, including its floor, would have to comply with current code requirements and would have to be addressed by the site’s future developer.
O’Donnell added that the start date for redevelopment of the East Market will be determined by the developer, but the owners are seeking “timely redevelopment” and want to have active work being done on the site in early 2022.
Developers interested in submitting a proposal must do so no later than 5 p.m. on July 1.
The proposal must include the project’s concept plans, schedule, feasibility study, budget and other documents. For a full list of requirements for the redevelopment proposal, read the RFP on the Lexington Market website.
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