The Adelaide Central Market has played a big role in property mogul Theo Maras’ life since he was a youngster, Adelaide Now reports.
After migrating to Australia from Greece when he was four years old, Mr Maras would visit the market with his family to embrace his multicultural roots and source the best fresh produce.
“At the age of four-and-a-half, I have very clear, clear memories … of coming here on Saturdays and buying all the continental products,” Mr Maras says.
“Feta cheese, where else could you buy it from? Where else can you buy olives or pecorino?
“For my family it was an eclectic place … I still come here every Saturday … we buy fresh.”
The founder and chairman of development company the Maras Group will next month take the reins of the Adelaide Central Market Authority on a three-year contract.
His vision is to continue to transform it into one of the biggest and best markets in the world. He succeeds businessman Nick Begakis who was chairman in 2014 and elected again to the position in 2017.
Mr Maras, also past chairman of the Rundle Mall Management Authority, says his priorities include ensuring the market is easy to access and enjoy, as well as making sure traders continually boost sales.
It means supporting traders get through the construction phase of the $400 million Adelaide Central Market Arcade redevelopment, due to start in May next year.
Adelaide City Council plans to build a 35-storey residential, commercial and retail building to make the precinct “world-class fresh produce market and visitor attraction”.
The tower will include specialty retail, food and beverage areas, a central public hall, public rooftop gardens, a 249-room hotel, 210 apartments, a supermarket, offices, 260 car parks and a childcare.
Mr Maras was the chair of the project’s Design Review Panel, using more than four decades of building and construction knowledge to get the best possible outcome for the city. The construction phase will not impact traders in the food hall, Mr Maras, who drove a major regeneration of the city’s East End during the 1980s and 1990s, says.
He has suggested dropping parking prices at the market, with support from the council, to continue to bring people to the market during the build.
“Traders are concerned, and I don’t blame them, about what is going to happen during the course of construction,” Mr Maras says.
“And my clear knowledgeable, passionate attitude is there will not be a problem.
“We will look at making is easy, accessible and appealing for people to come in to shop and stay.”
He plans to support arcade traders who had been given about four year notice that a redevelopment was on the cards.
“I’ll give you a little bit of a hint – right at the middle of the arcade as you walk through there is a bloke that says lottery tickets who only has a little stand,” Mr Maras says.
“When the demolition happens, we will put a wall up and he can go in front of it so people aren’t looking at a blank wall – we have something there.
“We will look at every opportunity, every square inch (for traders to relocate into the food hall).”
He says it is “absolutely perfect” timing for the redevelopment, with the project set to bring jobs and business opportunities to help the city recover from COVID-19.
There is set to be no delays to the project despite the pandemic.
“What happens here will be for the next 50 years, so I hope we can do something that we are proud of and that people want and love,” Mr Maras says.
Sourced By: Adelaide Now