AN HISTORIC building bought by Jacarilla council in 2009 from a real estate entrepreneur may soon be restored to some of its former glory thanks to €1.3 million of grants.
The Marquis of Fontalba Palace consists of a mansion, a church, and gardens.
It was constructed between 1915 and 1922 at the height of the Art Deco style era with the buildings and landscaped areas stretching over 26,000 m2.
After the Civil War, the Marquises of Fontalba sold the site to several owners in Jacarilla, and it passed through different hands, including two of the main real estate developers in the region.
Jacarilla council took ownership of the gardens in 2003 and six years later acquired the buildings from the Pedrera family.
Since then, the mansion fell into disrepair with no finances to restore it, but the gardens have been a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
“It was a jewel that was a poisoned chalice,” said Jacarilla mayor Andres Moñino, who pointed out that the provincial and regional government projects grants add up to more than his council’s annual budget.
Now it’s hoped for work to start before the end of the year so that parts of the mansion can be open to the public from next summer, and be used for events and exhibitions.
“We will start by renovating the main hall, the access staircase and recovering some rooms on the first floor,” said Moñino.
Complete waterproofing will be done to stop ceiling and wall leaks and Molino added that ‘windows will be sealed to eliminate cracks and humidity that have damaged the building’.
As and when the grants come in, then more work will be done.
Andres Moñino said: “Years ago there was a €3 million estimate to restore the building, but with rising costs, we have focused on waterproofing and stopping the deterioration, as we recover the rooms little by little with the help we get.”
Tiles have been damaged or been eroded over the years and to preserve the original look, Jacarilla council have contacted the original factory in Sevilla which is still in business to get new ones made.
Old photographs will be used to guide the restoration work which will also include improvements to the garden with lost grass to be replanted following the breakage of the irrigation pond which has now been repaired.