Atlas Group, Captain James team on Maryland crab house for redeveloped Broadway Market

Atlas Group, Captain James team on Maryland crab house for redeveloped Broadway Market

– By Melody Simmons, Baltimore Business Journal, March 28, 2018

The long-awaited redevelopment of the Broadway Market is poised to start in July.

The city has inked a deal to lease one of two buildings in the historic Fells Point complex to the Atlas Restaurant Group to build a traditional Maryland crab house and fish restaurant with outdoor seating that will face the newly designed community public square on the waterfront. Atlas, which is behind multiple Harbor East restaurants including Ouzo Bay, Tagliata, Loch Bar and the Bygone, plans to partner on the concept with Canton’s Captain James Landing seafood restaurant.

The restaurant would occupy the south “shed” of the market.

Existing vendors of the south shed will be offered leases and space in the newly developed north “shed” at Broadway and Fleet Street set to begin renovations in July. The north shed, vacant for years, is expected to reopen in early 2019 with at least 10 vendors and a central bar, with large open windows outdoor seating and new lighting.

Final plans will be presented to the city Planning Commission on March 29.

It’s the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of new life for the city’s diverse public markets, several of which are undergoing redevelopment and upgrades. Hollins Market and Cross Street Market are in the early stages of a re-do and Lexington Market is expected to be razed and rebuilt downtown in a project that could cost between $30 and $40 million once public and private funds are raised.

The Broadway Market redevelopment plans were unveiled Wednesday by the Baltimore Public Markets Corp., which has been negotiating and planning the project for months. An earlier plan to redevelop the market, which also involved Atlas Group, was rejected last year amid protest from Fells Point residents and business owners.

“A renewed Broadway Market will help generate more economic activity in Fells Point and add to the city’s offerings of unique destinations to visit,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh, in a statement. “I am excited to see this project finally come to life and create a vibrant space for residents and visitors in the heart of Fells Point, one of our city’s most unique neighborhoods.”

Business owners nearby were both optimistic and wary of the new Broadway Market plan.

Kelley Heuisler, owner of Poppy and Stella boutique and president of Fells Point Main Street, said the group had not been informed of all of the details and hoped to meet with Alex Smith, president of the Atlas Group, and his partner in the new restaurant, Billy Tserkis, whose family founded the Captain James Landing five decades ago.

“We’re hopeful and excited about having progress, but we want to make sure the new restaurant is not enormous and that it is going to make sense for the neighborhood,” Heuisler said. “Atlas has done incredible projects, and we’re sure it is going to be beautiful.”

Heuisler said one concern she has heard over the redevelopment is the impact of another major construction project on businesses in Fells Point. Over the past three years, the small historic neighborhood has seen the construction of the Sagamore Pendry hotel in the former Fells Point Recreation Pier and the redevelopment of the Fells Point public square at Broadway and Thames Street.

Other issues are parking and the size and scope of the restaurant.

“We would like to speak with Atlas about creating a neighborhood valet service,” she said. “And about creating more green space at the market.”

The public markets group released two renderings of the buildings. One shows a modern north shed with a large new sign on the roof and the other shows a modern eatery with a large outdoor seating area where a parking lot now stands.

Tserkis said the name of the restaurant or its size was still under consideration.

“We will have a community meeting because we’re all part of this neighborhood and we want to play fair,” he said.

Smith and his brother Eric, who is also involved in the Broadway Market project, are the grandsons of the late John Paterakis Sr., the H&S Bakery mogul whose bakery is located in parts of Fells Point.

Paterakis purchased and developed Harbor East in 1986 at the urging of former Mayor William Donald Schaefer. Paterakis paid $11.4 million for the property that was at the time blighted post-industrial land. Today, it holds some of the city’s most upscale tenants like the Four Seasons hotel and condominiums and Legg Mason. A 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods market is under construction there to be topped by a multi-family development, the $170 million Liberty Harbor East.

“I used to come visit my grandfather at work for lunch as a kid and he would take me through a bustling Broadway Market,” Smith said. “We look to bring back the hustle and quality of the historic Broadway market and we will make sure to honor its legacy by providing Baltimore with an authentic local fish and crab house.”

The Broadway Market is the oldest of the city’s public markets, marking 222 years in 2018. It first opened to serve the area’s immigrant populations that included German, Irish and Polish families who worked in blue collar jobs on the waterfront.

Robert Thomas, executive director of the city’s public markets group, said he had been working on the plans for the updated and redeveloped market there for several months.

“I’m excited to make progress on the next chapter in the market’s long history,” Thomas said.