BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Lexington Market is known as the longest continuously operating public market in the United States, founded in 1782. And now, it’s getting an upgrade.

“I’m just very, very excited to see that we’re going to have a new market.” said former Lexington Market business owner Cookie Carroll.

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A staple that sits right in the heart of Baltimore City and home to Faidley Seafood’s award winning lump crab cakes.

“It’s been our life, it’s our life’s blood actually, we spent most of our lives here.” said Nancy Devine, owner of Faidley Seafood.

But, over the past 50 years, city and state leaders said Lexington Market and the surrounding area has experienced significant decline and economic disinvestment.

“Which had affected the ability to respond to the city’s diverse communities and residents- that ends today.” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said.

Shovels hit the ground Tuesday morning to get the ball rolling on plans to transform the 238-year-old market into a new and improved space.

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“These planned improvements will lead to nearly 270 new jobs in the region and $351 million of economic impact over a 10 year period.” said Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young.

It’s a transformation leaders hope will reinvigorate the Lexington Market for the next 200 years to come.

“I think the vendors that are going to come back, the new vendors that are going to come back in, it’s going to help the people that are right in this community.” Gov. Hogan said.

The $40 million transformation calls for a new 61,000 square feet market building to be constructed on the existing south parking lot and the demolition of the arcade building.

Once the project is completed, hopefully by mid-2021, an open space will become a pedestrian plaza on Lexington Street. The market will stay open during construction.

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Leaders said it is essential to support the iconic hub for delicious food and home-grown entrepreneurship as they continue to build Baltimore.