Prominent developer Theo Maras has taken over management of the Adelaide Central Market, with a vision to transform it into one of the biggest and best markets in the world, The Advertiser reports.
Mr Maras, who transformed the East End of Adelaide in the 1980s and 1990s, has been appointed as chairman of the Adelaide Central Market Authority, replacing businessman Nick Begakis.
He will help the Adelaide City Council choose board members for vacant positions on the authority, which will oversee a multimillion-dollar upgrade of the arcade beside the historic market.
Mr Maras said he was excited by the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to transform the precinct into a “world-class” tourism and retail destination.
“I’ve been going to the Central Market since I was a child – I was taken to the Central Market every Saturday by my grandfather and my father so I’ve got a long-term history and passion for it – I love it,” he said.
“At the end of the day the market belongs to the people of Adelaide and I’m keen to deliver to Adelaide one of the biggest and best markets in the world.
“This will shape the market for the next fifty years.”
Under plans revealed by the council last December, a 35-storey residential, commercial and retail building will be built next to the market as part of a $400 million redevelopment.
Mr Maras, who oversaw the recent $30 million overhaul of Rundle Mall, said securing the right tenant mix and minimising disruption to existing tenants was key to making the project a success.
“Of course it was the expansion that excited me – I understand develoment, I understand retail and I understand what it is to have social interaction,” he said.
“What I want to be part of is ensuring we have the right curation of tenant mix that will serve the needs of the public and will be a world-class market and meeting place.”
Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said Mr Maras had been chosen from “a truly impressive field of candidates” to help oversee the project.
Mr Maras has an extensive background in development, retail and hospitality, including being chairman of the Rundle Mall Management Authority.
“Theo Maras was successful due to his highly-regarded business acumen, depth of experience and ability to lead,” she said.
Ms Verschoor and authority general manager Jodie Kannane thanked Mr Begakis, a professional company director, for his “strong leadership” during his term as the authority’s chairman.
“Nick has played an instrumental role in steering the Adelaide Central Market towards becoming the world’s best fresh produce market and maintaining its iconic status as a thriving food and cultural precinct for the broader community to experience and enjoy,” said Ms Kannane.