Nick’s Inner Harbor Seafood at the Cross Street Market Staying Open Past January

| January 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Nick’s Inner Harbor Seafood, which was originally ordered by developer Caves Valley Partners (CVP) to close at the Cross Street Market by the end of January, will now remain open unless a decision is made by the District Court in favor of CVP’s termination of Nick’s lease. Nick’s currently has six and a half years left on its lease according to Co-owner Kwang Lee.

Nick’s Attorney Gary Maslan told SouthBMore.com that they have been in negotiations with the City and CVP and there is an agreement between the parties that CVP would not evict or lock out Nick’s at the end of January, and that Nick’s will continue to operate at the market, until a decision is made by the District Court of Maryland on the validity of lease. Maslan said he is confident Nick’s will prevail in this litigation. No time table has been set at this point.

The entire market is expected to close in April or May for 8 to 10 months of renovations. Lee said he’s ready to negotiate with CVP on a long-term deal. Cana Development is handling leasing and MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate will be the property manager of the redeveloped market.

Arsh Mirmiran of CVP offered no comment at this time.

Longtime Nick’s employee Kimberly Travers told SouthBMore.com that employees and patrons were in tears on Monday when finding out news that Nick’s would not close at the end of January. Lee said he is very relieved and can finally get some sleep.

Mirmiran said at the January Cross Street Market Advisory Committee meeting that the termination was due to health code violations.

In a formal letter to CVP, the Baltimore City Health Department previously stated that Nick’s had “at least 2 Critical Violations and 137 Good Retail Practice Violations.”

“They don’t care about the rest of the merchants at the market. The way Nick’s has operated the last eight years is not a tenant we want,” said Mirmiran at the meeting.

“These are just routine inspection reports,” said Maslan at the meeting. “They’ve never been cited with citations. They are minor violations that occur in any food service facility. Nick’s has almost $1 million invested into this business.”

Nick’s Co-Owner of nine years Jae “Sunshine” Lee spoke also spoke at the meeting. “These are little violations, and this is a really big place. We’ve never been shut down or fined,” he said. “We pay $10,000 a month in rent and the landlord (BPMC) is supposed to hire pest control, but they haven’t. We hired our own weekly pest control. We tried the best we could.”

Nick’s also owns a seven-day, 1 am beer/wine license which CVP hopes to purchase according to Mirmiran. CVP is hoping to get a market-wide liquor license for the project. CVP, the committee, and surrounding neighborhood associations are working with Delegate Luke Clippinger on this request.

Kwang Lee showed SouthBMore.com the description of Good Retail Practice violations on an inspection report and noted that “every time the Health Department comes in, they find something” and that “it’s an education process.” Other vendors and restaurant owners who have spoken with SouthBMore.com have confirmed this.

Many in attendance at the Cross Street Market Advisory Committee meeting were there in support of Nick’s including bartenders, employees, the family of employees, and patrons of the business. Many in the community have also shown support for Nick’s on social media. There has also been an outpouring of support for Nick’s on social media, and a petition has been started to “help secure the future of the existing tenants at the Cross Street Market.” This petition has 718 supporters online and there is a large list of signatures at the Cross Street Market.

Nick’s has 21 employees and 70 family members who rely on the income according to Kwang Lee.

CVP is planning a $6.5 million renovation of the Cross Street Market. Cana Development is currently in discussions with existing tenants, which are currently on month-to-month leases, as well as future tenants. They expect the revamped market to have 25 to 30 full-time and pop-up vendors. They have a launched a new website at www.CrossStMarket.com with information on the project.

Proposed market layout from CVP (click to enlarge) 

cross-street-market-concept-leasing-plan-1-5-17

Rendering courtesy of CVP and Brown Craig Turner 

cross-street-market-updated-concept-exterior

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 [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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