A bold plan has been hatched to turn the iconic Central Market tower into a microbrewery, but traders have mixed feelings about the idea.
The 115 year-old Central Market tower hasn’t seen much excitement since the days it was in operation as a fire-spotting vantage point, however things are certainly heating up for the long-disused structure.
If designers Reuben French-Kennedy, Adrian Reveruzzi and Duana Fisher get their way, the tower will be transformed into a gravity-fed brewery, complete with a rooftop hops garden, a spectacular series of filtration pipes viewable to the public in the middle, and a small bar serving customers at the base.
The trio last month won a Central Market Authority competition for ideas on what to do with the Federation-era tower, beating out 18 other submissions to claim the $3000 cash prize.
The award doesn’t guarantee the project will go ahead, however, with the idea currently undergoing a 12-month feasibility study.
Fisher, a Bachelor of Architecture graduate at the University of Adelaide, said they were doing all they could to keep the momentum going.
“We would love to see it come to fruition obviously, so we’re doing our bit to get the word out – there needs to be interest from a brewer to get on board, so there’s a bit of matchmaking involved,” she said.
Central Market Authority manager Aaron Brumby told InDaily the study was looking at not just the viability of the project idea, but what impact it would have on the structure of the tower.
He said other ideas submitted to the competition might help inspire changes in other parts of the market.
“For instance there were some designs for facades and entrance points that would make for some great visuals,” he said.
Down on the Central Market floor, some stallholders are behind the idea, while others are sceptical.
One trader, who wished to remain anonymous, told InDaily the idea would likely go nowhere.
“It is a lovely concept, but let’s see what happens after (the market authority) spend the first million,” he said.
The trader said initiatives such as the tower competition were just a way for market management to justify their existence, and that these ambitious projects were just fluffing around the edges while serious problems like high electricity prices for traders remained unresolved.
He also said it was a disgrace that the shop below the market tower – Cappo Seafood – would likely be forced to vacate its premises should the project go ahead.
“What right do they have to come in here and kick them out after all these years,” he said. “Places like that are the lifeblood of the market.”
Matt Cappo of Cappo Seafood refused to comment to InDaily, saying only that he was waiting to hear what the next step was.
Alex Savvas of Con’s Fine Food was more open to the idea.
“If it is something that is going to bring more people to the market, then it’s fine by me – provided they find a new location (for Cappo Seafood) and help them pay to fit it out,” he said.
The relationship between traders and the Central Market Authority has been at times fractious, with confidence in the administration hitting an all-time low last year when the former CEO was placed on indefinite leave and the entire board resigned.
Brumby, who was appointed in March, said the authority had well and truly moved on from the turbulent period.
“In fact I’ve said that (the tower competition awards presentation) is a real turning point for the market – we have a good working relationship on all matters,” he said.
He also said the authority had engaged in discussions with Cappo Seafood throughout the tower competition process but it was too early to make decisions regarding their future.
Central Market Traders Association president Franz Knoll told InDaily relations had improved between stallholders and the authority dramatically under the leadership of Brumby.
“They’ve certainly involved traders more and been more stable,” he said.
In regard to the plan for a microbrewery, he thought it was a great idea.
“The tower – here is something we are not using, so if you don’t use it, you don’t add value,” he said. “We need to make sure the structure is maintained, but if the concept works and is feasible, it will really add another dynamic to the precinct.”
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