The Observatory's future has been in doubt for several years. | Jaume Morey


A Majorcan businessman, Ginés de Maria, is to rent the Majorca Astronomical Observatory in Costitx. The intention is to promote scientific tourism while maintaining the observatory's educational and informational activities.

The president of the Institute of Astronomy in Majorca, Amado Carbonell, says that the agreement was concluded shortly before the state of alarm was declared in March. This was more than four years after the association that operates the observatory filed for bankruptcy. The complex was put up for sale in 2017 at a price of 1.7 million euros. It is understood that the agreement includes an option to purchase. There is as yet no information about the rental price or the length of the contract.

Carbonell adds that maintenance and cleaning work has been going on at the observatory over the past few weeks. The aim is for activity to resume shortly. "We have an agreement, which just needs signing, so that the institute can continue its scientific and educational work. This will mean that people with the necessary training can undertake field work with us and visit the facilities."

The institute wants the scientific director of the complex, Salvador Sánchez, to stay in his post. He has expressed his satisfaction that scientific activity will continue at the observatory, as has the mayor of Costitx, Toni Salas.

Ginés de Maria has hotel and real estate business interests, principally in the Porto Cristo area. The land on which the observatory is sited is rustic and its use is "in the general interest" exclusively for scientific purposes. Other uses, such as a hotel, are therefore not permitted.