Timing and New Details Released about Cross Street Market Renovation

| December 19, 2016 | 2 Comments

Last Monday was the first meeting of the Cross Street Market Advisory Committee. Arsh Mirmiran of Caves Valley Partners (CVP),  which will redevelop the Cross Street Market, met with members of surrounding communities, organizations, and businesses. Members of the committee include:

1. Councilman Eric Costello (11th District) – Chair of Committee
2. Janan Broadbent – Key Highway Resident
3. Allison Burr-Livingstone – Visit Baltimore
4. Geri Byrd – Waterfront Partnership
5. Denise Carroll – Sharp Leadenhall Resident
6. Jameson Chalmers – Otterbein Resident
7. Alex Dixon – Horseshoe Casino
8. Paul Dolaway – Federal Hill Hospitality Association
9. Mike Evitts – Downtown Partnership
10. Andy Flacks – Federal Hill South Resident
11. Pastor Alvin Gwynn – Faith Community (Leadenhall Baptist Church)
12. Anna Leventis – Federal Hill Business Association
13. Bob Merbler – Federal Hill Resident
14. Mary Beth Metz – Senior Building Resident (Christ Church Harbor Apartments)
15. Judy O’Brien – Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance
16. John Pare – Riverside Resident
17. Garrett Schiche – South Baltimore Resident
18. Craig Stoner – Federal Hill Main Street
19. Dakerra Woodard – Digital Harbor High School (Senior Class President)

Current Cross Street Market vendors are not present on the committee as they negotiate with CVP, but Councilman Costello noted that they are “perhaps the most important stakeholder of this project,” and will be the first to get updates. SouthBMore.com spoke with many vendors after the deal with CVP was first announced in November.

At the meeting, Mirmiran provided updates on the project including the timeline of the project and some of the design ideas. He said there will be no changes for the current merchants until at least April 1st and that selective demolition would start around May 1st with full construction starting 30 to 60 days after. He said the preference is to shut down the entire market and complete construction in 8 to 10 months, but it is possible they could partition some areas for some tenants to move around to during construction.

Kaliope Pathermos, former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s Chief of Staff,  said last month the City is working with the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and all city agencies to find temporary homes for vendors and to fast track the permit process if temporary spaces in South Baltimore are found. Robert Thomas with the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation (BPMC) said last month that existing tenants would have the option to relocate to the City’s other five public markets.

CVP’s leasing team at Cana Development is currently in negotiations with current tenants. Mirmiran noted that rents for vendors might double, but so will revenue in his opinion. CVP will be investing $4.5 million into the redevelopment and the City is contributing $2 million.

Mirmiran described current tenants as being in three different categories after initial discussions: 1) Those that do not want change, which he said was not possible, 2.) Those that want to come back but are apprehensive, and 3.) Those that will need to make some changes in their concept.

CVP is hoping to get a new liquor license created through the Maryland General Assembly and said that failure to obtain it would be a deal breaker for the project. Mirmiran said he would like to see about eight vendors using the liquor license. He also said he would love a “Beers of the Chesapeake” vendor with only beers from DC, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. He told the audience at the meeting that he does not want a “bar like” atmosphere at the Cross Street Market.

Delegate Luke Clippinger was present to detail the process, including how the new bill would go before the Economic Matters Committee. He said it would likely be a new type of liquor license, a “market license,” and doesn’t think it should ever be allowed to move from the property. Delegate Clippinger said the process will be easy if it has community support and more complicated if not. Local community associations are expected to discuss the issue in January.

The market currently has a seven-day beer and wine license owned by Nick’s Inner Harbor Seafood and a seven-day beer, wine and liquor license owned by Big Jim’s Deli. Mirmiran said CVP is negotiating to buy those liquor licenses from both businesses and then transfer them within Federal Hill. Mirmiran told SouthBMore.com this could help lure an upscale restaurant to come to Federal Hill. There are currently 40 liquor licenses in Federal Hill Business District with a moratorium on any new licenses or existing licenses transferred into the district.

More details about the design of the market are expected in the next couple of months and Mirmiran said the project would go through the Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (UDARP). He did say the walkways would be moved to the north side of the market in certain sections and the south side of the market in others, and walkways would have pop-up vendors. The walkway currently cuts through the middle of the market.

The renovation will include the addition of outdoor seating on Cross St., likely eliminating six parking spaces; more natural light including new windows and the potential addition of glass garage doors facing Cross St.; updated utilities; a common seating area with approximately 100 seats; and facade improvements. CVP is aiming for 25 to 30 tenants within the market, with a mix of all the types of vendors that would make up a replacement for a grocery store, plus dine-in and carryout food tenants.

Rendering courtesy of Caves Valley Partners and Brown Craig Turner 


About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.