Tokyo’s Chuo Ward and local merchants have unveiled their plan to create a new marketplace near the site of the soon-to-be-relocated Tsukiji fish market.

The aging fish market is set to be transferred to the Toyosu district in Koto Ward by the end of fiscal 2014. Locals in Chuo Ward are hoping the new facilities will inherit the dynamic image and bustle of the nation’s largest, busiest and best-known fish and vegetable bazaar.

“We will proceed with preparations steadily and in time for the relocation,” Chuo Ward Mayor Yoshihide Yada said during a meeting of the group Wednesday, while expressing hope that the new stores will continue to attract shoppers and tourists alike to the area.

According to the plans, two commercial buildings will be constructed on a 4,000-sq.-meter site that is now being used as a parking lot for Tsukiji visitors. The facilities will hold approximately 100 shops selling fish and fresh vegetables, but will also include a multipurpose public hall.

Located within walking distance of the Ginza and Nihonbashi districts, the new marketplace should “attract not only professional chefs but also shoppers and tourists alike,” Chuo Ward said of its proposal.

The ward is scheduled to begin choosing tenants next spring but will only accept merchants with more than five years of experience working at the Tsukiji market. The likes of major retailers, such as Uniqlo, won’t be considered, a Chuo Ward spokeswoman said.

Construction is scheduled to begin after fall 2013 and the facilities are to be open for business before the Tsukiji wholesale market relocates to Toyosu.

The relocation of the Tsukiji market to Toyosu has been moving forward despite concerns over the safety of the new site. Tokyo Gas Co., which had a factory there, revealed in 2001 that the area contains high levels of lead, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, cyanogen and benzene. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has insisted the safety of the new site can be ensured.

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