Artist's impression of how the finished complex should look.

26-11-2008MDB

Patxi Mangado, the architect responsible for Palma’s Palacio de Congresos convention centre, has spoken about the controversy over the award for the site’s management and the price placed on the hotel. "It is worth 60 million euros. This is the cost of the work and the land. Selling it for 40 million means it is 20 million cheaper. The politicians decide, but I’m talking maths."

The previous administration in Palma had provisionally awarded the management to the Barceló hotel group together with an option to buy the hotel for 40.5 million euros (the rival bidder, Meliá, did offer 60 million).

Més threat

However, the Més party at the council threatened to take the award to the public prosecutor as the valuation period had expired. The previous mayor, Mateo Isern, then refused to sign off on the award agreement.

As things stand, the town hall has 50% of the shares in the Palacio de Congresos company; it also owns the plot. The other shares belong to the regional government.

This current public ownership is something that Mangado would prefer to see continue, albeit with a mix of private sector involvement.

The new director of the company, José Sintes, is inclined to agree and says he will recommend, if the latest report into the award’s legality proves negative, that the public sector should have control of the operation of the whole site - both convention centre and hotel. He would further recommend that management of the convention centre is subcontracted to a "specialist and prestigious company."

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