Lopesan Group, the largest native hotel chain on Gran Canaria, have said that they have new plans to build a huge shopping centre in amongst their flagship hotels in the touristed area of Meloneras, on the south of Gran Canaria, offering space to El Corte Inglés, the premium luxury department store chain known throughout Spain. It appears that previous attempts to promote bringing El Corte Inglés to the nearby Campo Internacional, in Maspalomas, and take the opportunity to renew their crumbling and near-deserted Faro II commercial centre, may well have fallen by the wayside.
The business group now say they intend to join two plots they own within the tourist resort of Meloneras to be able to build a huge shopping area of about 78,000 square meters near to the Expomeloneras Palacio de Congresos, and right in the heart of the islands top tourist hotels, which incidentally are mainly operated by Lopesan. The only other major operator in the area being the RIU group, who may well object to their rivals further commercialisation of the area. The investment planned to carry out all this new development is estimated at more than €100 million.
They have already been working on plans for the land, next to their relatively new Hotel Baobab, which covers some 28,000 square meters, to build a shopping center, which is pending approval with the Town Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana still needing to resolve the need for an urban development license to be able to build it, although it has received favorable technical and legal reports.
The Lopesan group have now said that this commercial area may not be enough as they would like the option to locate a large store space, in which international fashion brands could be established alongside the large department store of El Corte Inglés. To get this plan to even be considered the group would need to give up some of their existing permissions to build facilities for about 1500 new beds on the other 50,000 square metre plot that is next to that original site, separated by an existing road, to achieve greater surface for the shopping area and new stores.
Their proposal is to reallocate that land for commercial use, for which they appear to be looking to the sometimes controversial Law of Renovation and Tourism Modernization. That law would offer a framework for the construction of commercial establishments on plots that have already been categorised as being for tourist uses, ostensibly to enhance the supply of shops and leisure facilities on offer.
The project has been presented to the Canary Islands Government Economy Minister, Pedro Ortega, and Deputy Minister of Territorial Policy, Jesus Romero, in order that it might be considered as of “strategic interest” cutting out a lot of the normal waiting times and red tape, on the premise that it would be an important investment for the South of Gran Canaria.
The Lopesan group have a design by a team of American architects looking at how this new shopping centre idea for Meloneras might work across these two plots, which may need to be united removing the road currently running between them.
El Corte Inglés have been waiting for more than twenty years for the right plot to establish themselves on the South of the Island, having repeatedly made clear their commitment to opening a store in the tourist municipality. Since then, the group have approached Lopesan for and in Meloneras, and although the idea of renovating the Maspalomas Faro II was raised and pushed forward over several years, even being announced more than once in the press, this second option has started to appear much more attractive to the parties involved, in the face of continuing administrative obstacles.
The town hall of San Bartolomé de Tirajana has been accused by some businessmen of failing to modernise their planning ordinance quickly enough, having maintained the same ordinance and standards since 1996 and having failed to formalise attempts to bring the plan up to date. They have met with strong resistance from citizens in the municipality concerned about some of the wording within ordinance that has been presented, most recently last year with the controversy over tourist land, letting and complexes, and even now await the public company Gesplan who are trying to resolve the many objections and allegations submitted in regard to the town hall’s proposed General Plan, placing serious obstacles to both this project and other investments in the South, say critics of the administration.
Source:La Provincia added to by Timon