Since the early 1990s, one family has remained the dominant force behind the transformation of Rundle Street in Adelaide’s East End – the Maras family.
In 1993, Theo Maras and then business partner, Bill Manos, won the rights to redevelop a portion of the former Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange site into a dining, retail and commercial hub.
The Maras family has since retained control of a swathe of real estate on the southern side of Rundle Street, from East Terrace to Union Street, as well as the shops and bars lining Ebenezer Place and Vardon Ave.
All this information was made clear through analysis undertaken by The Advertiser and international property group JLL, which showed that more than 100 properties on the East End are owned by local families.
They include prominent fruit and vegetable wholesalers, the Raschella family, as well as longer term investors such as Alex Siros, who established the Piaf perfumery chain in the 1960s, and has owned the Scout Outdoor Centre building since the early 1990s.
For the Maras family, after initially entering a 99-year ground lease with the State Government for the former produce market site in the East End, they took over the freehold interest in 2007, and now oversee dozens of properties in the precinct.
Mr Maras has played an important role over the years in positioning the East End as the main hub for the Adelaide Fringe, and while disappointed that Supercars have been pulled from the annual calendar, believes major events remain vital for traders in the precinct.
His son Steve, who joined the family business in 2007, agrees, and has continued to promote events in the precinct.
“From the start we wanted to brand this place as a place of living, wining, dining, shopping, entertainment and festivity – we had all of those things and in addition we would have these major events,” Steve told The Advertiser.
“We have the Fringe, WOMAD, we have the Ebenezer night markets during summer, we have Vardon Avenue, Ebenezer Place and Rundle Street shut down to cars for East End Unleashed in February and March, we have Winter Weekends with fire pits and live music – we’re real big on events because events bring people.”