Work on main public market to start in July

Slow progress. A porter hauls vegetables to the Carbon Public Market Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Behind him is the Puso Village, a commercial and tourism-centric development in the Carbon master plan. Completed 17 months ago, the facility has remained idle because of an ongoing dispute between the Cebu City Government and the Cebu Port Authority over ownership of the Compania Maritima area. However, the developer is hopeful it can open the facility along with the mechanical parking lot to the public “soon.” It also announced that construction of the main public market building will start in the third quarter of this year. / AMPER CAMPAÑA
Slow progress. A porter hauls vegetables to the Carbon Public Market Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Behind him is the Puso Village, a commercial and tourism-centric development in the Carbon master plan. Completed 17 months ago, the facility has remained idle because of an ongoing dispute between the Cebu City Government and the Cebu Port Authority over ownership of the Compania Maritima area. However, the developer is hopeful it can open the facility along with the mechanical parking lot to the public “soon.” It also announced that construction of the main public market building will start in the third quarter of this year. / AMPER CAMPAÑA

HALFWAY through its target year to complete the first phase of the Carbon redevelopment project, construction on the main public market is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2024.

In the meantime, Megawide Construction Corp. continues to work on other aspects of the project, while it awaits the go signal to operate the Puso Village and mechanical parking lot 17 months after these were completed.

Cebu2World Development Inc. (C2W) deputy general manager Lydwena Eco, in a phone interview on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, said construction of the main public market, which is designed to house 6,500 vendors, faced several delays due to several factors.

C2W, a subsidiary of Megawide, is undertaking the redevelopment of the century-old Carbon Public Market under a joint venture agreement (JVA) with the Cebu City Government.

Previous reports of SunStar Cebu stated that the construction was supposed to start in 2023 and slated for completion in 2028.

The main public market and its commercial component will rise at the old Warwick area behind The Barracks. The project will include parking spaces and sewer facilities.

Eco said the design of the main market was changed and they had to apply for new permits.

Carbon vendors are currently housed at the interim building.

As of June, Eco said projects that have been finished and are already operational are The Barracks, or the hawker center, interim market, Freedom Park, Senior Citizens Park and Sto. Niño Chapel.

‘Sayang’

It has been more than a year since construction of the Puso Village and the mechanical parking was completed, but Eco said they are still hopeful to operate these “really soon.”

Since the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Cebu City Government from occupying the Compania Maritima area on Dec. 23, 2022, the Puso Village and mechanical parking lot could not be opened to the public.

“Right now, sayang ba (it’s a pity). It’s really sayang (a pity). In fact, ako (me), personally, I don’t look at the area kay magsakit akong (because it breaks my) heart,” Eco said.

She said their fate is up to the City Government as the dispute is still ongoing.

“We will really take the cue from Cebu City because they are our partners,” she said.

Eco said they are now looking at additional expenses because the Puso Village and the mechanical parking lot might need repairs, especially the latter.

“Na-dilapidated na bitaw siya, dili man namo sa ma-maintain, mechanical parking na siya, kinahanglan almost every day almost ma-lubricate na at the very least,” said Eco.

(It has become dilapidated. We weren’t able to maintain it. It’s mechanical parking. It needs to be lubricated almost every day at the very least.)

The term “mechanical parking” refers to any device — including elevating ones like automated car storage systems or vertical lifts — that makes it possible to provide compact parking without the need for ramps.

Strategic location

Eco said they also need to inspect the interior of the Puso Village, which is strategically located in the downtown area being a walking distance from many popular sites, including the Basilica del Sto. Niño, City Hall, Plaza Independencia and the port area, among others.

Eco said Puso Village was conceptualize to showcase ‘food tourism’ in Cebu City.

She said the facility can accommodate more than 10,000 people daily and was designed to house 350 businesses, including a “Pasalubong Center,” among others.

According to a SunStar Cebu report on April 27, 2023, Eco said the C2W already spent close to P300 million on the construction and site development of the Puso Village and the mechanical parking lot, but she could not provide exact figures as to how much the firm has lost because both projects remain idle.

She said “the numbers are running every single day.”

C2W’s role is to develop the lot and properties that were turned over by the City Government based on their January 2021 JVA.

The P8-billion Carbon redevelopment project is a public-private partnership that involves the modernization of the oldest and largest farmer’s market in Cebu City into a commercial, heritage and cultural district with a multimodal and integrated transport hub.

Megawide won the 50-year contract to construct and operate the Carbon Market District. Cebu City, though, will retain ownership of the entire development with C2W making a yearly guaranteed payment to the local government. / CDF

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