Touring the Construction and New Design at Cross Street Market

| October 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday, Cross Street Market developers Caves Valley Partners (CVP) provided tours to view the construction progress on the 31,800 sq. ft., block-long market that runs from Light St. to S. Charles St. in Federal Hill. About 60% of the market, which first opened in 1846 and was rebuilt after a 1951 fire, has been closed for the first phase of construction. The S. Charles St. side of the market has remained open.

Construction on the market began in April. The first redeveloped portion, called Phase 1A, is expected to open between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phase 1A will open the section of the market closest to the Light St. entrance. Phase 1B is expected to open in April or May of next year.

CVP and CANAdev, which is leasing the market’s 26 to 30 food stalls, are currently involved in a legal dispute over the Nick’s Inner Harbor Seafood lease. Nick’s occupies a large portion of the S. Charles St. entrance of Cross Street Market. CVP Partner Arsh Mirmiran said renovations to that side of the market will depend on how the lease situation plays out.

The most noticeable change at Cross Street Market is an abundance of natural light. Many large window openings were bricked over through the years, and CVP and its construction team at MacKenzie have opened them back up and are in the process of adding new black trimmed windows. Some of the new windows are as large as 8 ft. by 14 ft.

The Light St. entrance to Cross Street Market previously had windows but they were no longer clear. Those windows have been replaced as well.  All of the entrances to the market will also have glass doors.

Mirmiran said Cross Street Market was in worse shape than anticipated and that they needed to completely gut the building down to the walls and ceilings. Some portions of the concrete floor were torn up and replaced. The old tile floor will also be replaced by a polished concrete floor.

The cinder block walls and columns have been painted bright white. The concrete ceiling and beams and the new ductwork have been painted black. Michael Morris, principal at CANAdev, said the white and black will serve as a “background” for pops of color from tenants’ signs and stall designs.

Morris said that unfortunately there were not many historic elements of the market that existed and could be restored. But, Cross Street Market will bring back some of its iconic signs, and tenants like Steve’s Lunch and Fenwick Meats will bring back their neon signage.

All of the stalls will be on elevated concrete pads and will range from around 250 sq. ft. to more than 1,600 sq. ft. The largest new tenant will be Ceremony Coffee which will have a 1,600-plus sq. ft space on the northeast corner of the market adjacent to the Light St. entrance. Ceremony’s space will open up to the market, but will have glass walls opening around its space so that it can close while other stalls remain open. Mirmiran said that Ceremony would likely be the first to open and first to close each day.

The adjacent southeast corner is a large space similar in scale that has not yet been leased. Mirmiran said that they’d like to reserve it for one restaurant, but the team would be open to breaking it up if needed. Mirmiran has a particular food style in mind, but did not want to say more about it on the record at this time.

The interior of Cross Street Market will have six common seating areas that will be filled with long communal tables, and two-top high-top tables. There will be an outdoor seating area along the southern side of Cross St. which will take out about five to six parking spaces in Phase 1. When completed, Cross Street Market will have a new sidewalk around it with planters, replacing much of the on-street parking. About 12 parking spaces will be kept for carryout parking and deliveries.

Some stalls at Cross Street Market will have the option to sell alcohol, but the market will have one bar dedicated to craft beer, one bar dedicated to wine, and one bar dedicated to craft cocktails. The U-shaped craft beer bar will be located near a common seating area and have televisions. Individual stalls will have the option to offer their own bar seating.

When asked about the potential for a rooftop deck at Cross Street Market, Mirmiran said that it proved too expensive at this time. He said it would require a new support structure, a new stairwell, and an elevator shaft that would also take up a lot of space inside the market. Mirmiran said that if a future tenant that might replace Nick’s, wanted to put in a rooftop deck, he would be open to it.

On the outside of the market, the painted cinderblock side exterior is being sandblasted to give it a gray look. It will also feature new signage and eventually awnings. The entrances to Cross Street Market on Light St. and S. Charles St. will have a retro 1950s Cross Street Market look with a neon sign and a painted sign. The Light St. entrance is nearing completion, but work has not yet begun at S. Charles St.

The team at Cross Street Market, including MacKenzie, which will also manage the property, knows that parking and accessibility will be essential to the market’s success. Cross Street Market will have wayfinding signs to direct drivers to the West Street Garage, which is a block south on West St. and can be accessed from Patapsco St. The team is also working with the Parking Authority of Baltimore City (PABC) to give West Street Garage better signage so that it is easier to find.

West Street Garage was built to accommodate a future fourth parking deck. CVP and Councilman Eric Costello have said that they hope the demand from the redeveloped Cross Street Market will lead PABC to fund and construct this addition.

Security will be another big aspect of the new Cross Street Market. A 70-camera surveillance system will be installed. It will blanket the inside and outside of the market that spans the entire city block of unit E. Cross and that faces the 1100 blocks of Light St. and S. Charles St. The market doors will also have locks that can be controlled electronically from a remote location.

Phase 1A of Cross Street Market will include Ceremony; Fenwick Meat’s, which closed in April for construction and has remained closed in anticipation of its new stall; and a new stall for Steve’s Lunch. Steve’s Lunch briefly shut down during construction in April, but was able to open a temporary location on the S. Charles St. side of the market in May after Smoke decided to close until the market renovation is completed.

Phase 1B will welcome new stalls Burger Bar, Rice Crook, Sobeachy, and Phubs. The Sweet Shop, which is open in a temporary location at the S. Charles St. side of the market, will return to its original location towards the middle of the market. Smoke, which hosted a pop-up stall for about five months in the early part of this year, will also return in Phase 1B.  Nunnally Bros. Choice Meats will renovate its longtime stall in this phase.

Morris said that more tenants have been signed but announcements are not yet ready as some businesses are still working on refining the concepts and developing logos. He noted that they are looking to still fill some specific spaces in the market, but that he also has a waiting list of businesses that are interested.

The market will also have more grocery-type stalls where patrons can pick up items like dairy products, produce, cheeses, charcuterie, and flowers.

Lemontopia, run by 11-year-old Jamaria Crump, had a pop-up at Cross Street Market over the summer. She was on hand at Tuesday’s event serving her lemonades and lemon bars. Morris said they’d love to invite Crump back for pop-ups in the future.

Read’s articles detailing the different aspects of the Cross Street Market redevelopment here.

Renderings courtesy of Caves Valley Partners and BCT Architects 

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