Firm selected for Lexington Market redesign

Firm selected for Lexington Market redesign: "I envision it being unique"

The nonprofit that runs Lexington Market said Tuesday that it has selected an architectural firm with a history of working on tranformational projects to revamp the west-side property.

Baltimore Public Markets Corp. chose Murphy & Dittenhafer Inc. for the much-anticipated renovation of the historic market.

The firm expects to work on designs to redo the interior and exterior of the market's east building, between Eutaw and Paca streets, adding daylight and new entrances to better orient visitors, said President Frank Dittenhafer. The arcade could be demolished, with a new structure designed to accommodate a farmers' market or other activities built in its place.

"I feel very privileged that we're going to be able to do this project because I feel it's very much an important landmark destination in Baltimore, not just another project," Dittenhafer said. "I envision it being unique to Baltimore and really capitalizing on that great heritage of Lexington Market."

Dittenhafer, who grew up visiting Lexington Market with his father, said the building — with some vendor stalls that loom above the floor — is not customer- or vendor-friendly. The plans are expected to address the steep slope of the main floor and bring the market into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Construction documents could be complete in 18 to 24 months, said Robert Thomas, executive director of Lexington Market Inc. and Baltimore Public Markets. Full funding for the roughly $27 million project has not been secured, he said.

Murphy & Dittenhafer, founded in 1985, was awarded the roughly $800,000 contract after eight proposals were submitted, Thomas said. It was not the lowest bid, but had the right combination of experience, price and approach, he said.

Terms of the contract, which covers design, construction documents and construction oversight, are still in negotiation. Lexington Market is also seeking bids for construction management services for the project, with proposals due Sept. 11.

Murphy & Dittenhafer's previous projects include the Annapolis City Dock Market House and markets in Pennsylvania. In Baltimore, it has worked on the Tremont Grand, the University of Baltimore Student Center and the Hippodrome Theatre.

The Lexington Market, which has been in operation at the site since the 1780s, has more than 100 vendors today, Thomas said. The market would remain in operation during the construction work, with stalls relocated to the west building.

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