BULLDOZERS have started demolishing an infamous empty ‘white elephant’ building in Pilar de la Horadada that has been a drain on public money ever since it was conceived over two decades ago.
The Marina Baches Cultural Centre- nicknamed La Paloma, was once branded ‘the shame of the town’ and reached national notoriety as a prime example of overspending by councils during the boom period in the first decade of the century.
The original construction budget was presented as €2 million but spiralled to just under €9 million in 2006, when building was forced to stop.
The project was officially scrapped in 2014 and municipal technicians said La Paloma could not be revitalised and described the structure as ‘obsolete’.
Pilar council also paid €2.7 million in compensation in 2020 to two companies for lost revenues caused by an opened underground car park on the site.
€390,000 has been allocated to demolish La Paloma but the bulk of the work will be done once the summer school holidays start to avoid disturbing students and teachers at the adjoining Virgen del Pilar college.
Besides demolition, the underground car park with 252 spaces will be refurbished at a cost of €2.3 billion- more than the 2021 original La Paloma budget.
The 6,360 m2 area above the parking lot will be cleared and part of it has been earmarked for a multi-purpose building which could cost an additional €3 million.
The new structure would house social services offices and interview rooms, computer rooms and restaurant.
No indication has been given as to when that is likely to be built.