By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Tuesday, February 19th, Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella unveiled a new plan to revitalize and modernize the two large food markets, Cobal do Humaitá and Cobal do Leblon.
“We came to discuss possible partnerships of City Hall with CONAB to revitalize Cobal do Humaitá and Leblon,” exclaimed Mayor Crivella.
The Mayor presented the revitalization plan to Marcelo Bezerra the president of CONAB (National Supply Company). Any change to either Cobal do Humaitá or Cobal do Leblon must be approved by CONAB, which manages and operates both locations.
“Today (Tuesday) was our first meeting,” said Crivella. “We showed the president (Marcelo Bezerra) our projects. I’m sure we will reach an agreement to make that area of Cobal an even more pleasant space for the people of Rio.”
Crivella revealed that the plan calls for CONAB to partner with private enterprises that would allow for the construction of a new structure at both locations which would combine elements of the existing buildings with new facilities.
City Hall’s proposed plans include space for new stores and new landscaping. At the Cobal do Humaitá, the current outdoor parking lot would be moved underground to make way for a new public square.
City Hall officials stressed that none of the existing shops or restaurants at either Cobal would lose their space in the new building.
Formerly a tram shed before becoming a food market, the Cobal de Humaitá is a cluster of restaurants, bars, and food shops that occupies almost a whole city block.
Shoppers throng the indoor market in search of seasonal vegetables or artesanal cheeses during the day. And when the sun goes down, the market transforms into a festive nightspot as diners pack into the outdoor tables for open-air eating and drinking.
Tucked away on a tranquil street in the upscale Leblon neighborhood, Cobal do Leblon, like its larger Humaitá sibling, also straddles the line between a food market in the day and an open-air bar at night.