TORREVIEJA Council plans to put some life back into the beleaguered La Plasa Food Market in the heart of the city.
They have instructed a local engineering study to draft an appraisal on the cost of reinstating the ground floor (only) of the once-popular building.
The remaining three floors will continue to remain mothballed, after years of mismanagement by a series of owners, developers and banks.
Much was promised in March 2019 when a consortium was to work with IMF, the cinema chain, to bring life into all levels of the building with hospitality, entertainment and movie theatres.
However, the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdown ended those plans.
Current plans involve improvements to accessibility and security of the ground floor, adding more natural and artificial light to what was previously a dark space.
A budget has not yet been defined, but reports suggest works are affordable.
Vacant positions would then be offered to business in order to revive the market to its previous glory.
With only 14 of 37 positions filled, the empty atmosphere has proved far from conducive to shoppers and businesses, alike.
Poor property maintenance and appearance also had a knock-on effect, and with fewer businesses attracting fewer people, neighbouring bars and restaurants have also suffered.
In 2019, businessman Enrique Riquelme de la Torre made an offer to buy the upper two floors of the building that had been in a state of semi-abandonment for two decades.
They had previously been owned by an international investment consortium, fronted by Solvia, the real estate subsidiary of Banco Sabadell.
Significant funds were to be invested in the renovation of the entire building, with a cinema multiplex at its heart.
With the top floor previously designated as illegal, the work would also involve legalizing that too.
The food market was inaugurated by Torrevieja City Council in 1995 without a certificate of completion, without an opening license and in a building that did not fit the initial project.
Riquelme, the concessionaire of the building’s underground car park, hoped the purchase could help revitalize the commercial area of Torrevieja and the ground floor municipal market.
The council had previously demolished the traditional food market in the Plaza de Santa Isabel in the early nineties.
Previous owners had entered bankruptcy and most of the property passed into the hands of Banco Sabadell, which then sold 23 concessions to the Crofton Invest investment fund, for just over a million euros.
Crofton then sold them to another investment company, but little improvement was seen to the building.
Some stores within the building have tried to continue trading, but with footfall dropping and escalators out of use, it was an uphill struggle.
Attempts in 2011 by the council to attract businesses via advantageous leases also proved fruitless.
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