BALEARIC leader Jaume Matas yesterday invited distinguished British architect Lord Richard Rogers to take part in the international competition to design Palma's future Congress Hall. This was confirmed by Rogers himself, after a meeting with Matas. He said that he will accept the request, but first of all will have to study the project. “I have no preconceived idea about the project, nor will I be able to imagine it before conducting various studies,” he told reporters yesterday.
The architect designed the ParcBit project in Palma and he said that at his meeting with Matas, they evaluated a possible residential use for part of it, as was the original intention. The ParcBit covers an area of 1.4 million square metres, and several firms are already installed there.
Rogers had designed a technology park along with a residential area for 8'000 inhabitants, but the previous coalition government under Francesc Antich rejected the residential part. “It has to be a zone where residential areas combine with the workplace,” he said, adding that “if you want a balance between the environment and sustainable development, you should not create ghettos, of either residential areas or work areas.” At the moment, the ParcBit has a central building, Ses Cases de Son Espanyol, another building on plot 17 which is already working, a telecommunications centre, an energy generation plant and a tourism technology centre. A government spokesman said yesterday that there are no plans to vary the current use of the ParcBit to convert it into a residential area.
The construction of a Congress Hall is part of the government's plans to boost the lucrative congress and convention market in its effort to extend the tourist season. Suggested sites are the Paseo Marítimo and the Polígono de Llevant, by the trades fair centre.

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