The Department of Infrastructure is working on the bidding process, prior to putting out to tender, a contract for the complete transformation of the port area of Torrevieja, for the establishment of hospitality, commercial-nautical, leisure and parking activities.
A group, headed by Arcadi Spain, has confirmed that “it is working” toward this intention but the tender “is not imminent.”
The current priority is the old aspiration of the council to open up the port and its bay, now physically separated by a fence, but which is not yet ready, except for the Paseo de Levante and the fair, for public use.
What is included in the bidding process for the new infrastructure depends exclusively on the regional administration. It will have a lot of input from the Torrevieja City Council, which is already working on the project, despite lacking the powers to do so, but the last word on the configuration of the concession will be that of the Consell.
Although the Ministry does not see it as being imminent, it does anticipate the drafting of the tender by the business sector, with at least one promoter from the Vega Baja, with experience in such projects, already working on the development.
The main area to be refurbished covers about 185,000 m2 and appears in the port ground plan under the ambiguous name of “complementary uses” compatible with ports “such as cultural, sports, educational, fair competitions.
Most of this land is situated in what is popularly known as “relleno”, enclosed by the Paseo de La Libertad and its extension to the bar La Marina, the Levante dyke, and the bay itself in the area closest to the town access, where the fair and car park are located.
The proposals that are currently on the table relocate the fairground to where the parking is situated and take advantage of the land closest to the bay for hotels and nautical businesses.
It is a plan that differs little from that proposed by Eduardo Dolón during his first term, with the exception that it preserves the fishing activity in an area very close to where it is now, and at least one of the buildings belonging to the fish market for public use. In addition, most of the port buildings would be demolished.
The opening of the centre of the urban area and its walkways to this spectacular bay is an old aspiration of the municipality. At the beginning of the 2000s, the then mayor Pedro Hernández hired the architect Santiago Calatrava to draw up a proposal with large surfaces and an auditorium. The scheme was depicted in a model that cost € 600,000.
In 2009, also by Hernández Mateo and his relationship with the Valencian Government, the concession of a huge commercial area inside the port area was put out to tender. However, the economic crisis quickly saw that contest abandoned.
In 2014, during the first term of Eduardo Dolón, another project was presented, with less commercial surface, more open areas, and the suppression of the activity of the fishing fleet, but the legislation had changed: the Generalitat’s Ports Act now required the delimitation of port areas prior to any reorganisation on the ground. The 2015 elections then left Dolón in Torrevieja and the PP in Valencia out of power, with the project subsequently discarded by the Los Verdes government that followed.
But now, with Dolón back at the helm once again, the mayor seems keen that this PP aspiration, to open up the spectacular bay to commerce, will finally be followed through. Although we are unlikely to see any real movement during the next couple of years, the project is being worked on behind the scenes, and it could now be a real possibility.