City Hall plans to slash the number of temporary agricultural markets from 27 to just one by the beginning of 2015, replacing them with shopping centers and multi-storey car parks, a news report said Tuesday.
"Now, when chain stores are developing rapidly, markets are becoming insignificant, and it is much more difficult to maintain them as a business," said Alexei Nemeryuk, head of Moscow's trade and services department, Kommersant reported.
The department has presented plans to replace 12 markets with shopping centers by 2016 at a cost of about $400 million. The centers would cover a total area of 320,000 square meters.
Eleven will be converted into multi-storey car parks, cultural centers and transportation hubs, while the sites of three others are slated for use as eating facilities and in urban development.
All of the temporary markets are private enterprises, but Nemeryuk does not anticipate any problems with the businesses involved.
"The rental agreements on all the sites are expiring, and they won't be extended," Nemeryuk said.
The number of markets selling agricultural produce in Moscow dropped from 240 in 1998 to just 57 — comprising 27 temporary markets and 30 permanent structures — in 2013, a nosedive that accelerated under Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.