Back in August 2008, Torrevieja’s Mayor, Pedro Hernandez Mateo, presented an ambitious plan for a new Harbour Front project that would completely revitalise the City’s seafront. This project is designed to be a joint venture between public and private developers with investment exceeding 130 million euros. The project will transform the entire seafront of the city. However, since the plan was announced, Spain has been in ‘Crisis’ mode and thus developers and investors with the necessary seventy-million euros or so, required to build from the private sector, have been few and far between!
The new project will go a long way towards cementing Torrevieja’s position as a major Mediterranean port and yachting centre plus strengthening her tourism and trade sectors. The plan also calls for the construction of 2,500 new parking spaces, large shopping and leisure areas, realignment of existing nautical facilities and construction of a large ‘balcony/viewing area’ plus new safety conscious, enclosed swimming zones, along the beach.
The proposal is to rearrange the waterfront to allow the port and city, commerce and leisure, tourism and commercialism, to all operate together. With the creation of new urban spaces and plazas, public facilities, parks, shopping and entertainment areas, the initial plan is an impressive one. In essence the hodgepodge of old warehouses, a few pubs and restaurants, hippy market, fairground and fishing facilities shall be removed to clear the entire area for redevelopment. The main issues of contention seem to be from some opposition political parties plus a few members of Real Club Nautico of Torrevieja, who are unhappy with the fact than their clubhouse and facilities will need to be demolished, along with the International Harbour complex in order for the project to proceed.
The cooperation of both the International Harbour and Club Nautico are required as the project includes the relocating Real Club Nautico of Torrevieja but they shall benefit from the construction of new headquarters, the design of new mooring facilities and other benefits. The project is for the development of an area of 120,000 square meters with 5000 square meters being set aside as office buildings, Government and Port offices and municipal sailing school. This project would stretch from Levante dock all the way around the seafront to the salt pier. Marina Salinas and the new project would be united through a large open area for walking, of more than 4 kilometres.
The first phase of this project, the transfer of the fishing fleet, is already in progress. Torrevieja’s new marina plan has highlighted the Valencian Community’s commitment to the city and this is the most ambitious project of its kind for the Generalitat to date. The project’s model is on view at the Virgen del Carmen Cultural Centre for those that wish to have a look and put the entire plan into perspective.
In the two years since the design was first envisaged, new opportunities have arisen in both Torrevieja and the world of Tourism. Torrevieja has a need for more Hotels and this may be something to be added to the plan plus it’s no secret that the City has an eye on the possibility of adding a deep-water harbour area, where Cruise Ships could dock. The idea of adding a floating hotel, a former cruise ship, to the Harbour, is also under consideration as additional beds, entertainment and a tourism attraction could be added in the shortest time possible. Torrevieja’s seafront project is designed to improve the current quality of the waterfront and help diversify and complement tourist facilities by providing alternative spaces for recreation: adding a real impetus to the process of urban renewal that’s taking place throughout Torrevieja and positioning the city as one of the major yachting and tourist centres on the Mediterranean.