Palma.— The Balearic President José Ramon Bauzá and the Mayor of Palma Mateu Isern met with the head of the construction company Acciona, Pedro Martinez, to agree terms under which the building of the Conference Centre at the eastern end of the Paseo Maritimo can get started again.

The move breaks a deadlock that has lasted months after work on the star project of the regional Tourist industry and of Palma City Council ground to a halt because the constructors had not been paid.

Isern made it clear however, yesterday that the work and spending on the project would proceed “at a rate which the region could afford.” The next step is that the Balearic government will have to make a “significant first payment” to Acciona this month. Other outstanding monies will be paid according to a repayment schedule which the Minister for the Economy will set out, explained Isern.

The Mayor said that it is the Balearic government rather than Palma City Council who will be making the back payments to Acciona due to the fact that they (the government) used 20 million euros of Central Government funding for other public projects rather than the conference centre for which the budgeted money had originally been intended.

Works will proceed as quickly as possible, said Isern, and it may be the case, he added that the opening won't be too far off the one originally planned for 2012.

The Mayor thanked Acciona for remaining loyal to the project despite the works having been on hold for so long. “We're going to make a second attempt to secure the financing to finish the works as swiftly as possible,” he assured.

Asked about who was going to have the contract to manage the conference and hotel centre after the Barceló group withdrew from the project without contributing financing, Isern said that a fresh award of contract will mean a new source of financing and that the terms and conditions of a new bid will be available within the next two to four months. Isern said that a few difficulties remained but they were not insurmountable. “We've got to be absolutely sure about the kind of management we want for the future,” he said.

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