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Historic Lexington Market May Be Getting Multi-Million Dollar Makeover

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Getting a facelift. Lexington Market, in the heart of downtown, may be getting a multi-million dollar makeover. Officials say they want to appeal to a broader base of customers.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the changes in store.

Officials are planning a $20 million renovation at the historic market. They're using suggestions from the public.

For more than 230 years, the world famous Lexington Market has been serving up the freshest foods.

"They've got great food. Always have. Fresh seafood. I just love it. I love the atmosphere," said Felicia Johnson, customer.

But after more than six generations, the building itself is in need of a redesign to bring it up to date.

"We have to create that destination appeal that says it's worth the drive, we have parking and it's a fun place to be," said Robert Thomas, Lexington Market.

To make that dream a reality, Baltimore Public Markets recently surveyed more than 5,000 people to get feedback on the changes they'd like to see.

Executive Director Robert Thomas says people want more diverse vendors, while also sticking with tradition.

"They valued the historic character of the market. And they wanted to see it here, they just wanted to see it grander," said Thomas.

Lexington Market is one of the oldest, most historic markets in the country, drawing in nearly three-million customers a year.

Starting in 1782 with outdoor vendors, the market has grown. But in recent years, workers say they've seen a slump. Annette Teal, who's been there 30 years, hopes the upgrades bring the market back to its former glory.

"I would love to see it get back to what it was. Because back then, it was like crazy in here, but everybody made money," Teal said.

A facelift that could bring more tourists and locals back through these doors.

Physical renovations of the building could begin as early as next year.

Funding for the market renovation will be from a mix of public and private sources.

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