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Merchants Not Surprised by Market House Delay

The re-opening of the Market House at City Dock in Annapolis could be delayed up to four weeks while city and state agencies wrangle over renovations.

Business owners around City Dock were not surprised when they heard that the Market House will likely miss its Oct. 1 opening by about four weeks, according to the Baltimore Sun.

 owner Kevin Blonder said he's grown indifferent about the issue.

"Well, we would like to be open obviously. The more attractions there are downtown the better it is for all guests," Blonder said. "But there were a lot of things they had to get done."

Those things include a review of interior and exterior plans for Market House by the Maryland Historical Trust. According to the Sun, the trust became a holder of the house's historic easement in 2011 when it authorized state funding to help pay for renovations.

Annapolis' chief of historic preservation Lisa Craig told The Sun that after the state completes its review, the city's own Historic Preservation Commission must approve any proposed changes to the building's exterior, which delays the anticipated start time for vendor construction.

Mayor Josh Cohen said this could add about four weeks onto the timeline.

That means it's likely Cohen will have to "walk the plank." He vowed to plunge into Spa Creek if the Market House missed it's Oct. 1 deadline.

It's a promise Cohen reaffirmed Monday on Twitter.

 Owner Karen Johnson Gedney said, "I kinda had a feeling he was going to take a swim. That place has been a debacle from the word go. Of course I'm hopefull it will open again this year, I'm hopeful it will open in my lifetime."

Her husband and co-owner of City Dock Coffee Grover Gedney pointed out that a four-week delay would mean Market House merchants would miss out on the opportunity to sell during the annual boat show planned this year for Oct. 4 to 8.

"That's a biggie," Gedney said. "November is when we get into this lull before the holidays. Businesses down here kinda go into a sleeper mode."

Gedney said he thinks the delay could be even longer given the pace at which he has seen other downtown projects move. There was one thing he knew for certain—he plans to watch Cohen take his swim.

"Oh, I'll watch him jump," Gedney said. "He made that observation, so I think there will be alot of people watching him jump."

Mike July 10, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Lucy's offering us the football again and there is nothing funny about any of it. Why on Earth are our tax dollars involved in this mess for any reason? We are, quite simply, being forced to subsidize a collection of incompetent landlords and their cronies. It would be amazing to see a REAL audit of ALL what's gone into this property and various people's pockets for the last 10 or 20 years. People are acting like it's cute or funny (and worst of all, like it is sufficient) if the Mayor jumps in the creek. That's not a punishment for breach of contract and incompetence in the oversight of public monies, it will be a photo-op, it's a stupid distraction from the massive THEFT from the citizens which is taking place here. Want a market house to run well? Auction the property off and get the city out of it. The city's talent tops out at picking up our trash twice a week. Wait. They gutted that too. They cut service by more than half for about an 11% promised savings, which probably won't even be realized. This is THEFT of our money folks...time to wake up and finally put a stop to it.
Jenny Clagett July 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Seling off city assets or putting under long term master leases to a private businessman is not in the residents interest. The City is to manage WITHOUT private profit as a motive because that is the cheapest and least corrupt way to do so as well as the best way to provide the highest level of service to residents while providing decent paying jobs with benefits for a few city residents. Allowing anyone to make a profit off of the residents or the City's assets is corrupt. Businessmen are in the business of making as much money for themselves while providing the least amount of service at the lowest allowable quality. Creating low wage jobs with little or no benefits so the businessman can pocket the difference and throw the burden of providing health care and retirement and food stamps and other basic necessities his employees need to live on to the residents. The City used to manage the market house on their own, no master lease, no splitting profits. It was vibrant and always fully leased The residents demanded that the city drop any plans for a master lease and simply run it itself. Instead there has been a one track effort to put City functions into the hands private businessmen. A one track effort to rip off the residents.

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