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City Announces Plans For $26.7M Lexington Market Makeover

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's the world's largest continuously running market. But over the years, Lexington Market in West Baltimore has fallen into disrepair.

Now the city has announced plans for a $26.7 million makeover to bring the market back to its former glory.

Meghan McCorkell has details on the plans.

City officials have released a master plan to transform Lexington Market into one of the finest in the country.

For 233 years, Lexington Market has been serving up food to hundreds each day. First opening in 1782, the market has been operating for more than six generations.

But recently, it's lost some of its luster.

"The market should be an asset and an anchor and I don't think it's really been serving that role lately," said Kirby Fowler, Downtown Partnership.

Now plans are in the works for a multimillion dollar renovation, including a reconfiguration of the market.

"It will be fun. Less of a maze. Easier sight lines. Easier customer experience," said Robert Thomas, Lexington Market.

One of the proposals includes demolishing the area known as the arcade and building an outdoor farmers' market. More fresh foods would be added along with an increase in security.

That's good news to the owner of Berger Cookies, who's been here more than 40 years.

"The renovation has to be nice, clean, security... So the people can come here and feel nice and are not afraid to come to the market," said Minas Houvardas, Berger Cookies.

Analysts predict the renovation could double vendor sales to $31.6 million and create 268 new jobs.

Faidley's Seafood is one of the market's longest running tenants. Owner Nancy Devine wants to keep it that way.

"I hope they keep all of our history in mind when they start to renovate. Because I think that's the magic," she said.

It's that magic that has Jim Sullivan driving 83 miles just to visit.

"The crab cakes and the atmosphere. Really can't beat it. Good stuff," said Sullivan.

Vendors hope to draw in more customers just like him.

Market officials will also consider extending weekday hours and opening on Sundays.

At this point, there is no timeline for the renovation as officials try to secure funding.

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