Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, along with the Lexington Market Inc. ("LMI"), unveiled a bold new vision Friday, Dec. 2, for the future of Baltimore’s iconic Lexington Market – a plan Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects had a direct role in creating.
After more than two years of analysis and public input, the Mayor and LMI announced a plan to construct a completely new market structure on the parking lot immediately to the south of the current facility. To the north of the new market, Lexington Street will be reopened to pedestrians and reconnected between Eutaw and Paca streets, and a new park space will be created, providing the opportunity for an outdoor farmers market and other events.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Principal Frank Dittenhafer II FAIA, LEED AP, said his team’s design approach for the new Lexington Market focuses on fostering a positive experience and an engaging environment for the customers, vendors and visitors – both inside the building and outside the walls between Eutaw and Paca streets
“We want the new visual identity of this iconic Baltimore institution to be warm, welcoming, and magnetic during the daytime as well as at night,” Dittenhafer said. “A new Lexington Market really needs to have a fresh progressive image and strong sense of ‘place’ – a transformed/reinvented ‘place’ that is safe, accessible, sustainably designed – and where everyone wants to be and enjoys spending time."
The rebuild will create a clean, efficient and modern facility where visitors and residents throughout Baltimore will shop from local, independently-owned food businesses that reflect the City’s diverse cultural heritage.
The plan calls for the introduction of more natural light, better ventilation, level floors, human-scale tenant stalls, new storage facilities, customer seating spread throughout the market, and clear sightlines.
The new park will provide much-needed open space in a neighborhood where open space is currently lacking, and the park space would be managed by a non-profit foundation along the lines of the successful Center Plaza Foundation.
The Market’s iconic vendors, such as world-famous Faidley’s Seafood, Berger Cookies, Mary Mervis Delicatessen, and Konstant’s Peanuts & Candy, will all be part of the plan. The plan also calls for the mix of products to expand with more fresh and specialty foods, including bread baked in the Market, cheeses, coffees, and a wide range of ethnic specialties. The Market will gain new facilities, such as a hands-on teaching kitchen, that will help address diet-related health problems in the community, and better event facilities to celebrate local foods and serve more residen
LMI retained Market Ventures, Inc., to create the Lexington Market Master Plan, Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects for architectural services, Floura Teeter for landscape architectural services, and Whiting Turner for construction management services. LMI is working closely with its architects and construction manager to reduce construction costs and to target a construction budget between $35 and 40 million. Once ground is broken, it is estimated that construction will take 26 months to complete. Preliminary design funds have already been contributed by the City of Baltimore, Governor Larry Hogan, and LMI.
Going forward, the City of Baltimore will make a significant investment to improve the property, but the majority of the construction funding will come from other sources. LMI will work to identify a number of funding sources, including government grants, loans, and philanthropic contributions. Additionally, the Market’s vendors will make substantial investments for new equipment and fit-out for their businesses.
As part of its economic impact analysis, the Master Plan estimated that the improvements will lead to nearly 270 new jobs in the region and $351 million of economic impact over a ten year period. Also, total vendor sales would increase over 40% when the new Lexington Market project is completed, to nearly $32 million. With modern, energy-efficient facilities, the Market’s operating costs are expected to drop nearly $2 million, which will provide needed cash flow to repay construction loans.
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Graphic of plan
Baltimore Business Journal
WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore