It has been two and a half years since the Grao Market reconstruction started, but, now, finally, the end is in sight. When completed, which should be soon, Grao Market (Mercado del Grao) will be Valencia’s most modern market.
It´s been a while since the Grao Market reconstruction started, but it appears that the work is nearing completion. The construction company had a bit of bad luck – structural problems that needed to be fixed were much more serious than originally estimated, and some large pieces of asbestos were also discovered and had to be dealt with very carefully. And…there was also a pandemic. As a result, instead of the originally anticipated 12-month deadline, the works lasted nearly three years. However, the end result will be well worth the wait.
The Grao Market reconstruction will transform this place from a typical market to a community and entertainment center. One of the reasons for this market’s steady decline in recent years was that it was too close to Mercado Cabanyal, and it simply couldn’t compete. So, the new concept had to be invented.
As a result, once finished, Mercado del Grao will retain its fruit and vegetable stalls while also evolving into more than a market – a beautiful outdoor space meticulously landscaped with orange and olive trees, rosemary, and lavender. The market will have 24 stands open in the morning and afternoon, selling fresh and local products.
However, a multifunctional space has also been designed for conferences, concerts, children’s theater, and community meeting rooms where neighborhood associations and guilds can gather. The market will retain its “industrial” appearance while also featuring cutting-edge ventilation and lighting systems, large stained glass windows, and stone paved floors. It will most likely be one of the world’s first markets to include public green spaces.
According to the architect, the renovation of this historic market will not only preserve the original architecture, but will also provide a revitalizing space that connects social and commercial elements.
The entire market will also have a glass facade, with the goal of being completely open to the neighborhood and blending in.
The biggest novelty is that the market will be open all day, so it is expected that it will follow the modern European market trend of having not only market stalls but also fancy restaurants, wine shops, and many other specialized businesses under one roof.
The original market, designed by architect Rafael Alfaro, was inaugurated in 1902 as an architectural marvel in Valencia. It was the city’s first building with a steel structure, which was a novelty in construction at the time. Today’s Grao Market reconstruction may not be groundbreaking in terms of architecture, but it is the first food and entertainment market in Valencia, and it is expected to kickstart the revitalization of the surrounding area.