February 3, 2023
Annapolis, US 33 F

Something’s Fishy In Annapolis’ Market House

Things are always fishy at Pike Place Market in Seattle.  They are always flinging fish from one end to the other and it has a vibrant business model to sustain the tourists and residents alike.

But here in Annapolis, our Market House has been vacant for many years. There are no fish being flung. The only thing the Annapolis Market House has is a few vendors hoping for company.

On March 16, 2010, the City solicited proposals from interested parties for the Market House. The intent was to have “full occupancy” by the end of May 2010. They received 15 responses.  Initially, the proposals were to be for short term leases and it was subsequently changed to allow for more permanent solutions.

Yesterday, The Annapolis Sound broke a story that the City has a deal in place with Lehr Jackson to manage the Market House. The City’s PIO, Phill McGowan said he could not comment as they were still in negotiations. Yet the Mayor came out and said there were no such negotiations. Actually, his words were “no formal negotiations”.

Lehr Jackson was one of the proposals submitted for a long term solution to the Market House. You can read the details here.  This proposal was submitted at the last minute on April 23, 2010 and was submitted under the name Gone To Market, LLC.

Last night, an alert reader advised us that Gone To Market, LLC did not exist until last Friday, July 16, 2010–right about the time that Lehr Jackson reportedly began introducing himself as the new developer/manager of the Market House. This morning, we verified that information with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation.

While Lehr Jackson and his partner in this venture, Drew Scallan, may very well be qualified for the task, it is apparent that they misrepresented themselves as a non-existent corporate entity back in April to the City when they submitted their proposal.

Subsequent to the publication of the proposals online, there has been no publicly visible forward progress. Eye On Annapolis has also learned that another late entry proposal by an apparently qualified team of entrepreneurs (and endorsed by many local merchants including current tenants of the Market House) was summarily dismissed by City Hall.

Eye On Annapolis is reviewing the Campaign Finance Reports for the past election to determine what amounts Lehr Jackson, Drew Scallan, their affiliated companies or families may have contributed to the campaigns of the Mayor and Council.

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  1. Very, very interesting. Something tells me there are even more angles to this situation that need to be uncovered. I’m also guessing that this isn’t merely the City’s fault – we the citizens are as much to blame for not being diligent in keeping them and the people they do business with accountable. After all, this is our city.

  2. Cohens non-denial denial is clearly going to make him into a liar and therefore non-trustworthy, ThE Markethouse problem will be his un-doing and the end to his political career.

  3. Is this the bid involving Craig Purcell ? He was part of someone’s proposal and he’s worked with Lehr Jackson on projects before.

  4. Annapolis is lucky to have a guy like Lehr Jackson even consider coming to the Ancient City and doing something. You might want to check your facts and check out projects like Faneuil Hall, Grand Central Station’s Market, Union Station in DC., Belvedere Square in Baltimore to name just a few — Go over the En Plein Aire Festival in Easton today and check out the new Market & surrounds he just opened.

    Problem with Annapolitans is they live in a beautiful place mostly in decline an they become so provincial and surly when change for the better stares them right in the face. They’ll just go on bollixing things up based on politics for purposes unknown other than personality and lose sight of the end goal.

    Hopefully Cohen will change this dynamic.

  5. Okay, let me get this straight. People are up in arms about the possibility of the Market House restructuring going to a bunch of folks who have extensive experience with rebranding similar venues, versus a local group with _considerably_ less experience, on the basis of one group’s state registration of their business name? Good googly moogly, Batdude, there’s a saying about cutting off your nose to spite your face, and this is a prime example!

    Sorry, but I have to agree with Craig Purcell – this is Monty Python-grade silliness of the highest order. John Cleese would be proud.

    We should be welcoming a group with this kind of experience – and we should be CLOSELY checking the fine print in any ultimate agreement with this group – as citizens, the welfare of our home is our responsibility. There is no need to be playing juvenile Faux News “gotcha” games with the Market House.

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