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Cross Street Market Developer: Project includes diverse businesses

I felt compelled to write this response to the patently absurd letter from Kevin O’Keeffe (“Cross Street Market developers, city leave out small and minority and women-owned businesses,” Apr. 25). Mr. O’Keeffe’s malicious and misleading letter was published with an inaccurate headline. It is imperative that the record be set straight.

First off, I am leading the project team and I am, myself, an immigrant. I moved to Baltimore as a child and grew up here, but I was born in Iran. The diversity on this project starts from the top.

More importantly, as first chronicled in a Feb. 6, Baltimore Magazine piece titled “Get to Know Diverse Vendors Moving Into Cross Street Market,” we have a spectacularly diverse and exciting lineup of vendors coming into the revitalized market starting in May. Almost every vendor in the market will be a small business run by an immigrant or first generation American. In addition, the great majority of the entrepreneurial business owners are minorities, women, and/or veterans. We have also quintupled the number of city residents who own businesses in the market. As a city resident, this fact may excite me most of all.

I am sure most fellow Baltimoreans will eventually experience the exciting and transformative physical changes and diverse food concepts at the new market. We are absolutely thrilled to be home to Baltimore’s first ever Haitian concept, owned by a black couple from Haiti. We will also have a minimum of five women-owned stalls, another black-owned (African-American) stall (the previous market had none), a Latin-owned stall (the previous market had none), several Asian-owned stalls and multiple Greek-American owned stalls. In reality, the new market will be more diverse than its previous iteration. It will have even more fresh food items to purchase and it will make Baltimore proud.

Our team looks forward to welcoming people from all places and all walks of life to celebrate our melting pot of a city at Cross Street Market.

Arsh Mirmiran, Baltimore

The writer is a partner with Caves Valley Partners, which is redeveloping Cross Street Market.

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