Friday, 5 January 2024, 13:44
Mercacentro, Fuengirola's municipal covered food market, is to close its doors to the public today, Friday 5 January, after 37 years of business in the Costa del Sol town. The old building, located in Avenida Clemente Díaz near the train station, will be demolished to make way for a new market, which is going to cost the town hall 12.8 million euros.
The traders that are still left have until 12 January to clear their stalls, after which, the space will pass into the hands of the company in charge of the new project, which is expected to take 18 months to complete.
The future four-storey complex will have a groundbreaking architectural design, constructed mainly with glass and wood. The market stalls will be located on the ground floor, with restaurants and terraces on the upper floor. The two basement levels will consist of a car park, and a warehouse with a loading and unloading area.
Although the current stall holders are said to welcome the new project, mainly due to the advanced state of deterioration of the old market building, many are concerned about their future.
President of the Mercacentro traders' association Cristóbal Pimentel explained that 28 households will be affected by the closure of the space, since, of the 130 stalls located in the market, only 28 were still trading.
Pimentel has run the Mercacentro cafeteria since the market opened. Now, close to retirement age, he claims that the only solution will be to request a temporary suspension of trading for the duration of the works, which is what the majority of stallholders said they will do. Others will retire, while those who can will resume business in a different location of the town.
Antonio Peinado, proprietor of fishmongers Hermanos Peinado, is to move his business to a new location in the Plaza de la Hispanidad.
"We have taken out a mortgage to relocate to a new shop. We can't make an investment like this for just 18 months or two years, so I don't know if we'll come back when the market reopens," he explained.
Peinado, who believes that his regular customers will make the trip to his new shop, is disappointed that the town hall has not taken into account one of the suggestions made by traders when the new project was announced. They had proposed the transfer of the market to a temporary location while the work was being carried out, as has been done in other towns in similar situations.
Peinado, like other stall holders, is not happy at the fact that the old market building has not undergone any major refurbishment in the last 37 years, which, he believes, is why many traders have vacated the premises. However, they all agree that these works are absolutely necessary.
Once the work is complete, the traders, who have a 40-year concession, will be able to reclaim their stall spaces. However, this has also caused concern for some business owners, since they will have less than two years of concession left.
"There will be considerable investment for us when we return to our new areas. When the spaces are put up for auction again, we do not know how much more we will have to pay to keep them," they said.
Meanwhile this week marks the end of an era for grocery shopping in Fuengirola as Mercacentro closes its doors.