Around 100,000 people a week will flood through the doors of Sheffield’s new markets building when it opens in November, council chiefs say.
The Star was given a first look at the multi-million pound site, which includes a glass-covered arched entrance hall on to The Moor built with the same timber frame as the city’s Winter Gardens.
Traders also toured the main hall, which will feature around 190 stalls on one floor, including a loop of meat and fish retailers around the perimeter and 12 cafes or food outlets.
New specialist traders are among the most recent to sign up for the market, which will aim to attract a different type of visitor as well as retaining regular customers from Castle Market when it opens on November 18.
Underfloor heating, large north-facing windows, and prominent signs are all to make trading and purchasing easier.
Andy Ward, head of markets at Sheffield Council, said: “We would expect footfall to be around 100,000 a week, which is what it used to be at Castle Market six years ago.
“We would like this to be a market for all people in Sheffield.
“One of the stalls is selling specialist teas from Sri Lanka. In Castle Market it wouldn’t survive but here I think it will do well.
“There are around 10 to 15 stalls vacant but interest is still coming in. I’m hoping by the time we open it will be totally full.”
The council – which has invested £18m in the market and will manage it – said 90 per cent of stalls are allocated.
Around two-thirds of the stallholders will be traders from Castle Market.
More than half the stalls will sell food, and there were 30 applicants for the dozen cafe spaces.
One successful applicant was Anton Smith who is launching his first business, Juicy Patties Caribbean takeaway, in the market.
The 20-year-old, of Broomhall, said: “I can see the potential for footfall.
“A lot of people like different types of food because Sheffield is a multi-cultural city so I think it will be popular.”
Workmen for contractor Bowmer & Kirkland are toiling 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to finish the building.
Construction began in July last year but was set back by bad weather in April.
Mr Ward added: “We’ve got a recovery programme so it is completed in time to hand it over on November 4 so we can start getting the traders in.”
Scottish Windows Investment Partnership, which owns the lease for much of The Moor, is the council’s main partner and has built eight retail units as part of the development.
The last day at Castle Market is expected to be November 16 before it is demolished.