DUBLIN’S FRUIT AND Vegetable Market near Smithfield will close next week for refurbishment, 16 years after its redevelopment was first planned.
Opened in 1892 to facilitate Dublin’s market traders, Dublin City Council plans to advertise for expressions of interest in the coming months for the refurbishment and conversion of the Victorian redbrick building on the city’s northside into a retail and commercial space.
TheJournal.ie understands that a number of the eight wholesale traders at the market – some whom have traded there for several decades – are seeking an extension from the council but that the local authority has not agreed to this and will close as planned on Friday, 23 August.
The council – which owns the building – plans to issue a tender to a private operator for the future management of the redeveloped space.
“The building must be vacated in order to carry out conservation work, upgrade facilities and deliver a modern food market,” a spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.
The council was granted planning permission for the refurbishment of the building on Mary’s Lane in Dublin 7 in 2015. In recent years, the council has pressed ahead with plans for the historic market, which is located between Capel Street and the Four Courts.
Last year, Dublin City Council assistant chief executive Richard Shakespeare told a meeting of councillors: “People talk about the English Market in Cork, but we want a market with a quintessential Dublin feel. Something with a little bit of the magic dust of Dublin.
“Having this site in the middle of an area that is on the cusp of regeneration could kickstart the redevelopment of the whole area, really improving the quality of life locally.”
Shakespeare said at the time that works on the market building are expected to take around 18 months and that redevelopment could cost €3 million.
Source: Cónal Thomas
In order to carry out restoration works on the building, Dublin City Council requires vacant possession of the building. There are currently eight traders still working at the market.
According to the spokesperson, the council “has either reached agreement with the remaining traders or has offered alternative temporary accommodation for the duration of the refurbishment works”.
Traders at the market had either the option of reaching a financial settlement with the council or being relocated during the refurbishment.
The council has said traders who opted for temporary accommodation elsewhere in Dublin will have an option to relocate to the redeveloped market at Smithfield on completion.
Plans for the market were first unveiled in 2005 under the Markets Framework Plan which included apartment, retail and office space over six storeys. This plan fell through, however.
In 2015, councillors approved a more modest redevelopment proposal which will be decided by a tender competition. The council plans to issue a tender for restoration works in the coming months.