FIVE companies have submitted bids to Elche City Council to convert the old Central Market building into a major gastronomic and cultural centre after years of false dawns.

Once the project has been prepared and drafted for €481,000, the winning tender will have 15 months to undertake the revamp at a maximum price of €7.2 million.

Elche mayor, Carlos Gonzalez, said: “Plans to transform the property into a modern cultural gastronomic market has aroused great interest among major developers.”

He suggested the new-look building(pictured below) will offer similar facilities to those like La Boqueria in Barcelona or the San Miguel and San Anton markets in Madrid.

New Look Market

Four different proposals for updating the structure have appeared over the last 20 years with nothing happening.

A 2015 move to overhaul the building saw hold-ups over environmental concerns and the 25,000 m2 area containing significant archaeological items.

The new complex will have at least a dozen areas for restaurants and will also integrate and display the Arab baths and the Civil War refuge.

Work will also see the pedestrianisation of Carrer Major de la Vila where vehicle access will be restricted to residents and for loading and unloading.

Mayor Gonzalez claimed that the new Market building will act as a ‘driving force’ for the historic centre of Elche.

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