5-storey building may rise on portion of Naga public market

By Armie B. Gunay NAGA CITY --- The fresh fish section of the Naga City People’s Mall (city public market) bounded by Zamora Street and the Naga River will give way to a five-storey edifice that will accommodate parking spaces and business and service offices at the upper floors. This was confirmed by City Mayor John Bongat before members of the local media last Monday, July 23, as he revealed rehabilitation and construction plans for the public market, once the biggest single-roofed public market in South East Asia. The city mayor also disclosed that the city engineer’s office had found some portions of the market needing rehabilitation and retrofitting where necessary due to wear and tear, incidents of fire, and the passage of time. The market, which is now over 50 years old, was built in the 1960s during the time of then Rep. Ramon Felipe, Jr. and City Mayor Vicente Sibulo. Mayor Bongat said the lower portions of the planned 5-storey building will be designed for multi-level parking to help solve the city’s problem on increasing number of vehicles wanting parking spaces in the city’s old business district, more popularly known as ‘Naga Centro’. With the city having just passed and approved a towing and expanded wheel-clamp ordinance that will affect most of the busy streets in the city, the need for more public parking spaces becomes even more urgent. Businessmen have asked for a temporary deferment of the ordinance which is set to be implemented on August 1, this year, until better solutions are found to solve traffic congestion in the city without undermining the burgeoning trade and commerce in downtown district. The mayor said that with the demolition of the market’s western section to give way to the planned 5-storey building facing the Naga River, the fish section may be relocated on the remaining ground floor while other sections may be transferred or re-apportioned on the upper floors, including the roof deck, that presently serves as vehicle parking lot on one side and open space for vegetables and crops on the other. Meanwhile, the riverside portion of the market will be converted into a banchetto area. Fastfood outlets may also be allowed to rent stalls within the area.