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€3m 'artisan food hall' plan for market site

PLANNING permission to turn Dublin's Victorian fruit and vegetable market into a €3m artisan food hall is to be sought within weeks.

Dublin City Council is already looking to recruit food producers and vendors for the project, which will see a Covent Garden-style bazaar open near Capel Street.

The local authority is to seek approval from its elected members for the plan in a so-called Part 8 application.

The council has consulted with the relevant stakeholders about the redevelopment at Little Mary Street in Dublin 7, a spokesman said.

"The outcomes have prompted changes to the original proposal and consultations have continued through the summer months.

"It is intended to lodge an application in the autumn, which, if agreed will go through procurement and tender process for the build phase," he said.

The spokesman added: "The type and mix of food producers and vendors needed in a successful retail market has also been the subject of considerable research and evaluation.

"The recruitment process will not commence until an opening date is set and the criteria for producers and products will be available in advance."

Producers and vendors are being invited to register an interest by emailing dublincitymarket@dublincity.ie.

Backing

The plan has already received the preliminary backing of city councillors. In March, council executive manager Jim Keogan said it was hoped construction would start in November this year. However, it is now likely it will be early 2015 before any building work begins.

The market, which is in the north inner city behind the Four Courts, is currently used only by wholesalers.

The proposal is to convert half of the market into a space for artisan food producers and cafes.

There are an estimated 80,000 people living in the vicinity of the red-brick building.

When completed the food fair would be run by a management company appointed by the council and overseen by a special committee of councillors.

The redevelopment project needs to be ratified by a full meeting of councillors in order to proceed. The initial proposals for the project would have cost €425m and included a regeneration scheme for the area.

However, they were dramatically scaled down following the onset of the economic crisis and the property crash.

comurphy@herald.ie


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