BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Cross Street Market is getting a major makeover.

For more than 60 years, the market has been serving the Federal Hill community.

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Henry Reisinger has been working there for 46 years, and says any way you slice it the city’s approval to renovate means the end of an era.

“Some of the people like myself who are old-school, they’re going to miss this like it is,” he says.

But for years, neighbors have been calling for improvements at the aging market, which has seen foot traffic go down and vacancies go up.

“Not a lot of restaurants open, not a lot of options,” customer Regina McKenny told WJZ’s Amy Yensi Wednesday. “We came in to grab some breakfast so we’re probably going to go somewhere else.”

The deal, which is two years in the making between the city Board of Estimates and real estate firm Caves Valley Partners, means the 31,000 square foot market will look more modern.

The $6.5 million transformation includes more natural light, a main eating area, two dozen super stalls and extended hours.

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The goal is to attract new tenants and increase variety.

“I’m a neighbor, so I think any business it brings to the area helps my business,” says John Leonard, the owner of Don’t Know Tavern.

Vendor Dana Benor says all the vacant stalls hurt business and with a big portion of the market forced to close during renovations, things could get worse before they get better.

“Even relocation will take time and money and the rent outside the market is much more expensive,” she says.

Long story short, though, everyone nearby is hoping that this Fed Hill institution can go from surviving to thriving.

The deal takes effect in Jan. 1, with construction slated to start in the spring. Renovations are expected to last eight to 12 months. The city is promising to work with merchants on relocations.

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