NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) - A new food hall and public market will open in National City this month, after a 19-month delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Market on 8th" features 14 different shops and restaurants, all of them showcasing the culture and diversity of National City.
"Finally, this is coming together," says owner Joel Tubao. "There has been kind of a whirlwind of working parts in this project."
ABC 10News first reported on Market on 8th in November 2019, as Tubao and his crew were busy renovating the 80-year-old building on 8th Street, just east of Interstate 5. It used to be a furniture store. Back then, Tubao planned to open in early 2020.
"We were going at full force in March 2020," he says. "And suddenly everything shut down."
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced Tubao to stop construction and delay his plans. During the ensuing months, he says every part of development became difficult.
City and county offices were closed or short-staffed. That made it nearly impossible to get permits, health and safety inspections, and utility hook-ups.
Tubao also had trouble convincing people to leave the safety of their homes to work on the project.
"We were a victim of the pandemic. But we had to rise and get beyond it," he says.
Work began again in 2021. Tubao says the support of friends, family, and the community kept the project alive.
"Never did I think we were not going to do this. I was always very confident that it was going to happen," he says.
As Market on 8th prepares to open to the public, Tubao points out that nearly every restaurant and store in the Market has ties to National City. Many of them are owned by people who live in town.
"This is where I grew up," he says. "This market is not just for this block, for us. It's for the entire community. So, we're hoping it's going to be a new place to hang out. And National City deserves it."