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Lexington Market to receive $4.9 million in federal stimulus funding

 Baltimore's Lexington Market.
Baltimore's Lexington Market. On Wednesday, city officials announced the market would receive $4.9 million in ARPA funding for redevelopment.

Lexington Market will receive $4.9 million in federal pandemic relief money to go toward building out food stalls and other construction costs, city leaders announced Wednesday.

Redevelopment of America’s longest continually operating market began in 2020; the pandemic slowed construction and caused lumber and labor costs to spike. The money, taken from Baltimore’s $641 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, will complete the redevelopment, according to Mayor Brandon Scott.

“These funds are going directly to vendors to help us reach the finish line for opening this uniquely Baltimore destination this summer while ensuring that minority businesses are put at the center of our work to grow the downtown economy,” he said in a statement.

Seawall, the Baltimore development company behind apartment buildings Union Mill and Remington Row and the R. House food hall, has overseen the expansion of the city-owned market and is responsible for recruiting new tenants. The East Market building has remained open during the redevelopment from Monday through Saturday as construction of a new adjacent building and pedestrian plaza continues; the project is set to be complete this fall.

More than 45 merchants will call the market home, from longtime staples such as Faidley’s Seafood and Super Fried Chicken to newcomers such as flower store Fleurs D'Ave and Tio G's Empanadas.

The new merchants will increase Black ownership of the market’s stalls from 5% to nearly 50%, according to the mayor’s office.

Ashley Wylie, co-owner of Fleurs d'Ave, said in a statement she couldn’t be prouder to open a second location at Lexington Market.

“We're a Black-owned business with deep roots in Baltimore, and we know our fresh flowers and exemplary customer service will be a part of the Lexington Market legacy for years to come,” she said.

The Baltimore Public Markets Corporation will receive the ARPA funding; the non-profit created by the city runs Lexington Market, as well as four other city-owned markets.

A host of other organizations have funded the Transform Lexington Market project; Lexington Market, Inc. continued $2 million, the city contributed $7.3 million in grants, the state contributed $9.4 million in grants and the federal New Market Tax Credit program contributed $9.5 million.

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.