Mumbai's redeveloped Crawford Market block 3 and 4 to open in June | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Mumbai's redeveloped Crawford Market block 3 and 4 to open in June

Apr 22, 2024 08:51 AM IST

Phase one of the work involved the restoration of Mumbai's famous heritage market building, from 2015 to 2018. The fountain and open space have been revived

Mumbai: The redevelopment of block three and four of 154-year-old Crawford market, officially known as Dr Mahatma Jotiba Phule Mandai, is nearing its completion and is all set to open in June this year. These two blocks will house the fish and mutton sellers and are part of the phase two of its redevelopment.

Mumbai, India - April 21, 2024:Redevelopment work of Crawford Market, in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - April 21, 2024:Redevelopment work of Crawford Market, in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

Crawford Market is a blend of Victorian Gothic, Norman, and Flemish architectural styles. The market was designed by British architect William Emerson and was built in 1869 by Lockwood Kipling, father of English novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling.

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Restoration work

The restoration work was carried out keeping in mind its rich heritage and therefore the old structure of the clock tower has been restored. Phase one of the work involved the restoration of the heritage market building, from 2015 to 2018. The fountain and open space in the centre, a part of the original design, have been revived.

“Finishing works, such as painting, adding doors and windows are remaining,” said Abha Narain Lambah, in charge of the redevelopment. “This is a pretty huge and holistic redevelopment. The biggest challenge so far is that as we haven’t wanted to displace the sellers, we’ve had to do the redevelopment part by part, moving the sellers to other parts of the market. That’s why it’s been taking so long.”

The new blocks will have two basement levels, where the unloading and loading of goods can take place and effluents from cleaning fish can be treated, as well as space for 150 car parking. It will be four levels high, with vendors interspersed throughout.

In the centre formed by all the market buildings will be a one-acre open space for a pedestrian plaza, where people can move in and out and access the markets, take a breather, and enjoy the newly restored fountain.

Also Read: Brick by brick: Delhi’s Gole Market on way to reclaim old glory

On Saturday, the municipal commissioner, Bhushan Gagrani, along with Lamba and other officials visited the market to inspect and review the work taking place.

The redevelopment of the other two blocks, one and two, will start after the work on the current blocks is complete, as the vendors can be moved there. They will house the fruits and animal and pets’ market, and will be ready next year, said Lambah.

Lambah was given the charge for the market’s redevelopment in 2007. At the same time, however, the BMC gave Crawford market to a builder to develop buildings with extra FSI.

The restoration plan

Lambah and the architect objected to this, suggesting instead, another plan that expanded the ambit of the market and constructed an open space in the enclosure formed by the market buildings. “We suggested an alternative, why don’t we develop the market that keeps the heritage intact, adds structures, keeps it at the same height, and adds open spaces for people,” said Lambah.

Also Read: Revamp gathers pace to create a modern Meharchand Market

For this plan to be given the go-ahead, however, took time. By the time Lambah had received approval from the heritage committee for work to start on phase two, it was 2020. Which is when the pandemic struck.

“We worked through the lockdown,” said Lambah. “But we still have one and a half years to complete the whole thing, as we have to excavate through heavy hard rocks. The aim is by the end of the project, the entire market is upgraded while keeping its heritage intact.”

Also Read: 8 mn sq ft of mall supply likely to hit the market this year: Cushman & Wakefield report

The municipal commissioner also reviewed the restoration work of the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, formerly known as the Victoria and Albert Museum, located in the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Botanical Garden and Zoo, Byculla. He also visited the zoo’s pond for crocodiles and lizards, penguins, and the Anna Bhau Sathe theatre.

Also Read: New supply of retail space expected to increase by 45% by 2028: Report

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