PALMA City Council has granted a building licence for the complete refurbishment of what was, for decades the Sala Astoria cinema in calle de la Riera.
The ground floor entertainment centre closed its doors indefinitely on 31st January, 2000 after an abortive attempt to reopen as a multi-screen cinema complex. The premises has historic links as it was the first cinema to open in Palma after the end of the Spanish Civil War. The first film screening took place in 1939 with a showing of Viento en popa (Wind in the Stern).
Local authorities said yesterday that the property required an appropriate permit if it was to undergo a complete overhaul, especially as the structure was suffering from deficiencies in the concrete content. Upgrading work had actually begun some weeks ago and will continue for several more months yet as the project to make the whole building sound is a fairly lengthy one.
So far as plans for the conversion of the interior are concerned, no application has yet been made for remodelling the cinema auditorium, but there are rumours that all the current installations will be swept away to make room for a Japanese garden and swimming pool.
The same municipal sources have also signalled that the owners of the old cinema got in touch with Palma City Council to ask just what would be allowed under local jurisdiction to replace the abandoned premises. Works that are currently going on in gutting the old building which is located near the recently refurbished Teatro Principal, have not so far interfered with the public passing along the pavement from Las Ramblas or Plaça Weyler. The way the scaffolding has been erected means that there is no difficulty in continuing to use the pavement as normal - an unusual exception to construction works of this magnitude.