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“The Market will not suffer” during major upgrade: Maras

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Prominent developer and newly-appointed Central Market Authority chair Theo Maras has promised traders and customers that he will do “everything that’s humanly possible” to ensure the market continues to prosper while major construction occurs at a neighbouring arcade – despite warnings from his predecessor.

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Maras, who will take over the management the Central Market from August, told InDaily he would ensure there was “minimal if any disruption” to trade over the next two to five years while the adjoining Central Market Arcade undergoes a $400 million redevelopment.

InDaily reported yesterday concerns from current chair and businessman Nick Begakis that there was “quite some trepidation” among market traders about the Adelaide City Council-led project, which is scheduled to begin construction next year. 

The city council will demolish the arcade, which was last redeveloped in the 1960s, and build a 35-storey tower with ground and first-floor retail space, and an above hotel, apartments and office space.

The Central Market will be left intact and open for business during construction, however it is expected that car parking will be impacted.

Maras, who has forged a 45-year career in the development industry and oversaw the recent Rundle Mall revamp, said while the Central Market was set to lose a portion of car parking “for a short period of time”, traders and customers would still have ample access via Gouger and Grote Streets.

He said construction would not proceed beyond the perimeter of the arcade, meaning the market would be able to continue to trade as normal.

“The market will not suffer a disruption in process because the way the market stands at the moment is it’s self-contained within its own perimeter,” he said.

“Unfortunately, every time that something is about to change it’s understandable that people may feel threatened or they may feel that there would be some things that won’t be the same. 

“Of course, some things won’t be the same because when you’re constructing there’s some changes that are going to take place – we understand that. 

“I will do everything that’s humanly possible to ensure that it works.” 

A Woods Bagot rendering of the inside of the redeveloped Central Market Arcade.

Maras said he intended to sit down with stallholders, customers, the council and arcade development partner ICD Property to determine how the market could continue to prosper while construction at the neighbouring arcade occurred.  

He said the discussions would focus on how traders could continue to have their goods delivered, how customers could access the market and how trade could be boosted.  

“I’m going to bust my balls to make sure we don’t have any loss of trade,” he said.

“We may pull off something that we can be proud of and say that we increased the turnover and the business rather than jeopardise it. 

“That depends on how hard we work and how we orchestrate the construction program together with the market operation program to make it work.”

 Begakis told a city council meeting this week that Central Market management had presented a plan to help mitigate the impacts of construction on market traders.

The council has admitted “short-term disruption” to market trade would occur during the arcade’s construction, but it has committed to minimise impacts by boosting its marketing spend, increasing signage and altering traffic flow.  

“I am excited and I think there will be minimal if any disruption, and I think we will manage the process as we have managed many, many other buildings throughout Adelaide,” Maras said.  

“We want to provide a better, bigger and much more family-orientated with a social environment in the market through the expansion of where we are now and into the new area.”

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