Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announced the new lineup of vendors for the City’s iconic Market House that is scheduled to reopen later this spring. Eye On Annapolis first learned of the vendors back in December, but the final details of the leases and some negotiations with a third party had not been worked out until recently.
“The Market House is a defining feature of our town and a focal point for our community,” Mayor Cohen said. “My goal has not been to simply get it reopened. My goal, and my commitment, has been to get it right.
“Today I am thrilled to announce the new team of vendors who will help us turn the page and begin a successful new chapter for our Market House. This announcement marks a key turning point for our historic market, not just for this summer or the next year, but for the long term. I thank the City Council and the residents and businesspeople of Annapolis for their input, advice and patience throughout this long and frustrating chapter. By taking the time to do it right, we are laying the foundation for the Market’s long term success.”
The renewed Market House will feature a diverse range of offerings with an emphasis on quality product and a connection to the Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay region. The City carefully selected and screened the tenants to ensure they had proven track records as operators, established customer loyalty, and a complementary mix of offerings, with broad appeal to local Annapolitans.
Yellowfin Seafood & Oyster Bar will be the anchor tenant in the new Market House. HB Properties Management, the same company that runs the highly acclaimed Yellowfin Steak and Fish House in Edgewater, will manage the Market House version of Yellowfin with its own unique City Dock vibe. Yellowfin will feature a raw bar and a fresh seafood market, in addition to crab cakes, sushi and other seafood fare that will be served in a fast casual format.
Hard Bean Café will be a key tenant in the Market House. Hard Bean Coffee, an 11-year old established and successful business across the street, will relocate under the banner of Hard Bean Café and offer its highly popular coffee shop fare. Also operating under the Hard Bean Café banner will be “Carl’s Corned Beef & Delicatessen” offering New York style deli fare including delicious sandwiches, brisket, soups and related bakery items, all under the direction of Annapolis chef Carl Charrup. The third concept under the Hard Bean Café name will be the “Midship Fresh Bar” offering a variety of hot prepared foods such as chicken wings and barbeque, and a cold prepared salad bar, both in a self-serve format and paid for by weight.
Annapolis Organic Market, owned and operated by Isaac and Annie Waheed, proprietors of Good Life Organic Market in Severna Park, will offer a variety of organic and healthy food products. Customers will be able to peruse a selection of gourmet snacks, organic honeys and syrups, energy bars, fresh organic dairy products such as milk and eggs, as well as a complete line of natural vitamins and herbal supplements. Also operated by Good Life Organic Market will be Good Life Smoothie Bar, which will serve a full line of healthy fruit and yogurt based drinks, along with a wide range of fresh and local fruits and vegetables “green grocer style”
Returning as a tenant and bringing Authentic Artisanal Gelato to downtown Annapolis again, is Firenzes Gelateria. Its unique gelatos and sorbets are handmade –on premise- from natural and locally sourced ingredients. Firenze’s will also offer freshly baked cupcakes, Italian pastries and a variety of offerings from its espresso bar.
Finally, Amsterdam Falafelshop, a hopping little shop with a cult following from Washington, DC for the past eight-plus years, will be joining the list of Market House vendors with top-it-yourself falafel and Dutch style fries.
All of the vendors have signed leases with the City and are in the midst of their architectural design, permit review and approval process and many have begun to order their equipment and engage contractors in preparation for opening. All leases expire December 31, 2017. The tenants are collectively investing approximately $750,000 in their businesses much of which is in the form of tenant improvements. When pressed for an opening date, Cohen would not commit to anything more than “spring.”
In 2011 the City Council granted the mayor exclusive authority to negotiate and execute leases for the Market House for terms not to exceed five years. Last year the City retained Annapolis-based FranPoint Partners, Inc., owned by Eastport resident Richard Sharoff, to consult and assist the City in selecting the tenants, negotiating the leases, and assuring a strong overall mix.
“Getting the right mix of vendors, working through the myriad of issues, and negotiating the individual leases has been a complicated and challenging endeavor, to put it mildly,” Mayor Cohen said. “Through it all, Richard worked closely with the City and each of the tenants. His tireless dedication has been absolutely essential to the success of this process.”
Key provisions of the leases include:
- The City will not subsidize the operations of the Market House. All operating expenses including common area maintenance, utilities, janitorial, trash service, insurance, security and marketing expenses will be passed through and paid fully by the tenants.
- Rent is a percentage rent based upon gross sales. Once each tenant exceeds its share of a combined $1.5 Million annual breakpoint for the overall operation, the tenant will pay 9 percent of its gross sales revenues that exceed the breakpoint to the City.
- The Market House will have seasonal hours. Most tenants will open at 11 a.m. year round. During peak season, most tenants will remain open until 10 p.m. and during the off season they will close in the early evening. However, certain tenants will open earlier for breakfast while others will stay open later on Friday and Saturday nights.
The City remains responsible for maintaining and repairing the exterior structure of the Market House, as well as operating and cleaning the restrooms which will be open to the public 24 hours a day.
The City’s recent improvements to the Market House include upgrading the air conditioning, installing geothermal wells for heating and cooling, installing sprinklers, renovating and expanding the restrooms, and installing a 24-seat window counter facing the harbor, offering one of the best dining views in Annapolis.
There has been a Market House at City Dock since 1788. The land was given to the City in 1784 by Nicholas Carroll, Jacob Hurst, Charles Wallace, Joseph Williams, Thomas Harwood, John Davidson, James MacKubin and James Williams, all prominent businessmen. Located in the heart of the Historic District where vessels have docked for centuries; the existing structure was built in 1858 and underwent a major renovation and restoration in 1972.