Former Brunswick market ready for next customer

The striking former Brunswick market in Tripovich St is for sale again.

Melbourne’s first self-serve market is providing buyers and browsers with an opportunity to check out a slice of history in Brunswick.

The fruit and vegies might be long gone, along with the traders, but the Spanish Mission-style building at 1 Tripovich St once comprised 71 shops and stalls as a thriving marketplace.

Now repurposed with five residential apartments and a vacant commercial space, the circa-1930 property is expected to fetch more than $3 million.

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It was opened in an attempt to stop locals drifting out of the suburb to the Queen Victoria Market during the Great Depression.

The converted Brunswick marketplace.

A ghost sign of the market contrasting against the modern street art.

But it could not compete with the Queen Vic and Sydney Rd traders and a liquidator was appointed in 1933, according to the Victorian Heritage Database.

TCI Property Consultants agent Jack Teneketzis says the building cannot be knocked down.

“The facade and the history of the building is unique,” Teneketzis says.

“You can build something next door, but you can’t replicate its cultural value.”

At the heart of Sydney Rd, the recent history of the 1930-built market structure is interesting.

A look inside one of the residential apartments.

The 1070sqm floor space provides a host of opportunities for buyers.

After being subdivided, Tom and Nella Padula bought it in 1999 and ran the Insegna International Languages Bookshop there.

Padula says that it was a strong sale at the time.

“My parents were heavily into arts, culture and theatre, and sectioned the middle part for Italian theatre productions.” he says. “They loved this iconic building but it was the right time to sell.”

“It looks like the buyers have poured a lot of money into it since then.”

While the heritage overlay means the facade of the property is protected, Teneketzis envisions that the former market would make a great microbrewery, co-working space or indoor cinema.

The property overlooks the trendy Sparta Place.

A living space in the vibrant centre of Brunswick.

“The bones of the building are amazing, but it needs to be brought to modern level,” Teneketzis says.

“And with Brunswick and Sydney Rd mirroring Fitzroy in a lot of ways, I can see the area going gangbusters over the next few years.”

“There’s so much upside.”

Padula would like to see the property retained as a cultural or educational hub.

“I hope the new owner appreciates the historical significance of the property,” Padula says.

“Someone who sees it for what it is.”

— Aron Lewin

This article from Leader Newspapers originally appeared as “Slice of shopping history ready for next customer”.