THE construction of the Convention Centre will start on March 15, although the area will be fenced off from March 1.
This was announced yesterday after the Centre's administration board (the city council and Balearic government) awarded the contract for work to the group of firms comprising Barceló, Globalia, Sampol, Iberostar and Acciona.
The announcement was made yesterday by Balearic government spokesman Joan Flaquer, who said that the government was especially satisfied that such an emblematic project as this should be carried out by firms rooted in the islands.
The construction of the Convention Centre will be built at the same time as the refurbishment of the sea front. Both Flaquer and Javier Rodrigo de Santos, the deputy mayor in charge of planning, agreed that adjudicating the contract had been a long process.
De Santos said that he was confident and satisfied with the work carried out by all the specialists from jurists to architects, who have collaborated in the project over the past three and a half years, whose efforts mean that Palma will have the best infrastructure possible in the best possible site. As to the development of work, De Santos explained that the accesses to the Foners district would be tackled first, adding that the Convention Centre and sea front are going to be worked as though they were a single project, as a result of which they will be carefully co-ordinated.
De Santos said that work would start on the 15th at the junction of the Paseo Marítimo with Calle Manuel Azaña and Calle Ciudad de Queretaro. He said that it would mark the start of an exciting period for Palma, although he admitted it would not be free from difficulties. But once the Convention Centre is built, it will provide benefits of a social and tourist character for Palma.
The Convention Centre will have underground parking, with two hotels and a shopping centre nearby.
These are infrastructures which will not only help boost congress and convention tourism, but will also have an added value for education, leisure and citizen participation, he said.
But local traders have expressed their opposition to plans for the shopping centre which, they claim, will keep people away from the city centre.