first_imgAs plans to redevelop Preston Market start to take shape following approval by the City of Darebin, traders and the local community have anxiously been awaiting their fate.And they haven’t been quiet about their concerns. In an interview with Neos Kosmos last month, leasing advocate and representative of the market’s 150 traders Manny Spiteri expressed their disappointment over the lack of consultation and transparency, resulting in greater uncertainty over the market’s future; a space that over 45 years has developed into a celebrated and familiar cultural hub.However, Preston Market Developments Pty Ltd, a partnership between Salta Properties and Medich Corporation responsible for the $4 million development, has since contacted Neos Kosmos disputing claims that traders have been kept out of the loop. “Most of the building upgrades and other improvement works have been identified based on suggestions raised by traders and the community,” said Sam Tarascio, Salta Properties managing director, who says they have been in talks with traders since late last year.“Our sense is that the traders are generally excited about the market’s future and the proposed renewal works,” he added − a conflicting sentiment given that traders and concerned members of the community held a general meeting last month to further express their frustrations.Set to include three apartment buildings currently awaiting approval, one of the main concerns has been that the development will destroy the market’s amenity and cultural feel.While Mr Tarascio acknowledged that concerns over change are understandable given that the site has been untouched since the 1970s, he assures the market’s integrity is a priority.“We are 100 per cent committed to respecting and retaining what people love about the market, and finding the right balance between the old and the new. We also know that people love the feel of the market, which will be retained as part of the renewal and in the future stages of development,” he told Neos Kosmos.Developers are seeking to increase foot traffic and revenue by redesigning the space to become a place where art, music and food come together. A part of the cited improvements is greater sustainability, with plans to include solar panels, onsite waste treatment and better recycling infrastructure, along with new shopper-friendly amenities such as new toilets, parents’ rooms, kids play areas, and increased parking.While there was speculation that the shopping precinct would have to be downsized to accommodate the impending apartment blocks, the managing director asserts that is not the case.The accommodation will be located near the northern quarter of the market, and if all goes to plan the trading space will grow, with the number of traders set to increase.Though Mr Tarascio said disruptions will be kept to a minimum, he could not confirm whether traders, many of whom have been tenants at the market for upwards of 10 years, would be compensated for any loss in revenue, nor whether they can expect job security.“We know that one of the main reasons people love Preston Market is because of the relationships they have developed with the traders over many years. We don’t want that to change,” he said.“While traders will change from time to time, we are looking forward to emphasising the markets speciality offerings and the diversity of traders, to ensure the market maintains its point of difference from the typical shopping centre.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more