Lexington Market

Transforming Lexington Market: Baltimore City’s Public Market

Proving that a single building brought to life inclusively, can become a hub for small businesses and wealth generation while uniting a divided city.

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How can a transformed Lexington Market represent the incredible diversity of Baltimore City through its vendors and visitors?

Lexington Market, located in the heart of Baltimore City’s downtown, is a culinary and cultural icon with more than 200 years of history. Identified as the longest continuously operating public market in the country, it has provided a home for thousands of small businesses, access to fresh and prepared foods, and hosted gatherings of all types since it started as an open air cart market in 1782. Now owned by the City of Baltimore, the market is in need of a major update and reimagining, something that Seawall was selected to do in 2018 through a competitive RFP process. The project to build the Market a new home is currently under way, led by us, with a new Market building expected to open in early 2022.

We knew that the process to even begin work on a new Lexington Market building began long before we came onto the scene. This is a project rooted in community listening and historical precedent that goes all the way back to the start of the Market. Lexington has always been a microcosm both of Baltimore’s successes and failures, and the modern day is no exception. That’s why we started our process by spending two years listening to all types of Market customers, vendors, city officials, and community members – ultimately determining that the best path forward was to build a new 53,000-square-foot Market building on an adjacent parking lot, while reopening historic Lexington Street as a pedestrian plaza with outdoor seating, event space, and public art. We modeled the new building off of an early 1900s market shed structure to harken back to its past while modernizing infrastructure and making way for new types of programming and vendors.

The $40 million redevelopment plan came together with the help of hundreds of hours of community listening and input as our team visited countless community associations, churches, and interested groups to get guidance and direction on the plans for the City’s most historic public market. But, as we say often on this project, constructing the building is the easy part. The heart and soul of Lexington Market has always been its vendors, and we engaged in a process to establish new vendor principles and a diverse, equitable vendor application and selection process. Through our Transform Lexington Market platform, we are also doing community listening and launching initiatives around the Market’s rich history and culture, its design and branding, and its educational and community programming. This project is a work in progress, and one we’re honored to be a part of, along with all of Baltimore City.

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Rendered images of the new Lexington Market building and plaza.

The history is one of the things I love about this place. It’s such a beautiful thing to know that [the Market’s] being redone in a significant way. 

Tae, Lexington Market Community Survey

Transform Lexington Market's groundbreaking ceremony in February 2020.

Nancy Faidley-Devine, co-owner of Faidley's Seafood, speaks at the groundbreaking.

I love how every Baltimorean, no matter what generation they come from, has a story about their trips to Lexington Market either as a child or adult...There's nothing more "Baltimore" than Lexington Market. I'm sure most Baltimoreans would agree!

Tyler, Lexington Market Community Survey
The nuts and bolts to get it done

Project Details & Development Specs.

Lexington Market

Project Capital Stack

Project capital stack | $40,000,000
New Market Tax Credit Equity
State of Maryland Grants
City of Baltimore Grants
Lexington Market, Inc. Funds
Senior Loan

New Market Building

53,000 sq. ft.

Lexington Street Public Plaza

17,000 sq. ft. of urban green space and community gathering place

New Market Vendors

50-55 beloved old-timers + up-and-coming small businesses

We'd to thank everyone involved!

Thank you...

  • To the City of Baltimore and Lexington Market community, for entrusting us with this project and believing in its next chapter.
  • To the vendors of Lexington Market, new and old, you are the Market’s heart and soul.
  • To the incredible partners in and around the Market, the folks who have believed in this place long before our project started; we are indebted to you.
  • To the teams of fearless lenders and investors; we can’t do it without you.
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