Project Profile: Lexington Market
Scope of work:
$45 million redevelopment of 65,292-square-foot Lexington Market
BC&E Member companies involved:
Ariosa & Company
Recreating an institution that has been a prominent piece of downtown facilities and Baltimore culture for 220 years presents builders with the challenge of meeting extraordinary expectations.
Erected in 1803, Lexington Market is one of the country’s oldest and longest-running public markets. For Baltimoreans, it has been the source of personal and business history, family traditions, favorite foods, entertainment, but also blight and urban decay.
Growing up in the city, Drew Cheezum, Project Manager with Ariosa & Company, shopped with his mom at Lexington Market and occasionally hopped off the bus home from high school to grab a bite or play video games there. Cheezum, like many other workers, was determined to make the new market exceptional.
The open, vaulted, two-story interior space challenged crews to not only deliver all the infrastructure needed to serve 55 vendor stalls, dining areas, community space and support for food trucks, but to also make that infrastructure disappear.
“One of the most difficult aspects of the project was hiding the ductwork and utilities in an open floorplan,” Cheezum said. “We couldn’t have anything crossing over the middle part of the building so we tucked things up over stalls and created a couple of ways to run line sets through the building so they wouldn’t be noticeable. With some of our line hides and covers, if you weren’t working in HVAC, you wouldn’t know the lines are there.”
Hirsch Electric’s crew faced the same aesthetic challenge as they installed electrical lines, low-voltage services, interior and exterior lighting, huge ceiling fans and electric boxes in the market’s outdoor patio that would enable food trucks to pull up, plug in and start serving meals.
“It turned out so beautifully inside and out,” said Gary Schucker, Project Manager at Hirsch Electric. Foregoing BIM coordination, “we treated this as an old school job where everybody got together daily to figure out what was happening and how we could deliver the best installation. The conduit work that we ran is impeccable – some of the best I have ever seen. The owner was so pleased that, initially, he didn’t want to hide it with black paint.”
Achieving the vaulted structure of the new market presented HDL Construction with different challenges. Responsible for the installation of exterior and interior metal framing, acoustic ceilings, acrylic panels, doors, hardware, drywall and drywall finishing, HDL had to hold to very tight dimensions to exactly match shop drawings on “a very difficult design,” said Luis Caballero, Project Manager at HDL.
The project included a new design for waterproofing that required the HDL crew to cover ¾ inch plywood with insulation and a vapor barrier to create the core of the exterior walls which where then topped by exterior metal panels.
“It was a very detailed installation,” Caballero said. “You could not leave any gap. Every seam had to be taped, every screw had to be caulked and you were always checking your work to make sure there were no gaps in the vapor barrier.”
Working on scissor lifts, HDL crew completed Level 5 drywall finish on 45-foot-high walls in order to create ideal surfaces for murals.
For HDL, the construction challenge that created the most striking results was the installation of Lexington Market’s main entrance.
“The doors at the main entrance are 20 feet wide by 12 feet high and they are very heavy doors and doorframes,” he said. “We had to use a forklift to raise the frames up and then we had 10 guys set them in place. It was a challenge but it created a beautiful entrance.”