It will be the best Christmas present traders in Preston’s old indoor market hall have had for years.
Stallholders have been told they will be in their new home by December 4, just in time to enjoy the festive shopping rush.
Work on building the new “glass palace” underneath the recently restored Victorian canopy is on schedule.
And traders watching their replacement market going up day by day “can’t wait to get in,” according to one.
“It’s very exciting,” said Norman Young, whose family have run a fruit and veg business in the market for more than 40 years.
“We can see it from where we are and it does look good. We just want to get in there now. We can’t wait.”
Traders have been told the old market hall, opened in 1973, will close after business on Saturday December 2.
They will have just 36 hours to transfer to the new building, which is due to open on the Monday morning.
“It will mean the Sunday will be a bit busy for everyone, but we’ll manage,” said Norman. “We have all been allocated our spaces in the new market, we all know where we are going to go.
“We currently have shopfitters working on the design of our unit and it’s looking good. We will have access to the new market before we move, to get a lot of things sorted in advance. Hopefully it will be a smooth transition.”
The new market hall is costing between £3m and £4m and is part of a wider £50m redevelopment of the entire Markets Quarter.
Both outdoor market canopies - one built in 1875 and the other 1924 - have already been refurbished.
The current market hall is due to be demolished to make way for a huge entertainment complex. It is understood the bulldozers could move in to flatten it in March/April.
The inner structure and floor slab of the new market hall are now complete and installation of the glass walling began in August.
Specialist lifting equipment is being used to manoeuvre the large glass panes - which weigh approximately 180kg - into position. Tiling of the Market Hall will also be starting this month.
Installation of the glass can be viewed through the windows located at the top and bottom of the larger market canopy hoarding or from the upper market balcony.
A Preston Markets Traders Association spokesman said: “The traders cannot wait for the new market to open, which is being built under the magnificent Victorian canopy. It has been great to see so many of our customers sticking with us throughout the building works.
“It is exciting to see each new phase of the building take place and we look forward to serving all our wonderful customers (and meet new ones) when it is complete.”
Councillors last week buried a time capsule beneath the market to mark the project.