PALMA'S Gothic market exchange building of Sa Llonja on the Paseo Maritimo is going to reopen on Balearic Day next year after the completion of major reforms, Education and Culture Minister Bartomeu Llinas confirmed yesterday.

The third phase of the overhaul of the centuries-old building is still in the offing, explained Llinas. Exterior sculptures and the immediate surrounds of the building still need to be finished, but there is currently no funding left, he said.

In recent years, celebrations for Balearic Day have been held in Palma's Auditorium on the night of 28th February, prior to the actual festival day of 1st March.

But in 2011, the occasion will be held at Sa Llonja. For a while, said Llinas, the building is going to remain open to the public in an empty state, without any exhibitions being launched, so that the work that has gone into the complex restoration process can be assessed at close hand. “There will be guided visits to the roof terrace,” said Llinas, adding that the premises will even be open at night-time.

The Council of Majorca's Heritage Commission is currently approving the plans for the installation of a lighting system and loud speakers. “Once the archaeological surveys have been undertaken,” said Llinas, the cabling will go underground.

Work also still remains to be done on the ornamenation on the staircase leading up to the roof and the two towers which look out onto the sea.
Architect Pere Rabassa said that the only remaining outstanding issue is the ventilation. At present, the building doesn't allow the levels demanded by legislation.


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