Malaga Skyscraper – discord over controversial proposal

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MÁLAGA – Assault on historical heritage, speculative project, damage to the townscape; there is no other project that is currently dividing the city of Malaga more: the construction of a skyscraper with a hotel function in the port of Malaga.

With 27 floors and 166.62 metres high, the Malaga skyscraper will significantly change the appearance of the historic city. The project has not yet been approved by the Puertos del Estado and the Council of Ministers and now is the time for the opponents to act. They have a major trump card in their hands to challenge the arrival of the hotel; a referendum among residents of the city.

Adelante Malaga, the left-wing municipal party in Malaga, wants this referendum approved in plenary on Thursday. It would be the first referendum in the city’s recent history.

Divided politicians

According to Adelante Málaga spokesman Eduardo Zorrilla, ‘it is not often that opinions are so divided’. The left is in favour, the centre-right is against. A joint proposal for a referendum would be more powerful. But Ciudadanos has not yet decided whether it will support this referendum. The local branch of the conservative PSOE also does not  know whether it will support this motion, and is holding off until the last moment.

Not compatible with measures against climate change

Sources at Podemos confirmed to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial that the Malaga skyscraper project ‘affects the artistic heritage of the city of Málaga and goes against the agreements to tackle climate change’. In addition, there is no justification for making an exception in the Coastal Law for such a speculative project.  The chosen site also presents construction issues with the foundations. The sources conclude that the construction is pure speculation, which is no longer appropriate in this day and age.

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Support

Zorilla thinks that support from higher up is needed to stop the project. Support has come from 300 important figures in the cultural sector backing the manifesto ‘Defend our horizon’. World heritage organisation UNESCO is also against the construction. Through Icomos, (International Council on Monuments and Sites), UNESCO state ‘the effect of the skyscraper is irreversible and would be a detriment to the image of the city’.

New proposal

A few weeks ago, the Urban Planning Department of the Municipality of Malaga, received a new Port Plan proposal for preliminary approval. According to designer José Seguí, the Malaga syscraper will have eight floors less height, 50% more greenery around the building, and the congress centre andviewpoint on the top floor will be expanded. With these adjustments, the tower will fit better into the cityscape.

Seguí is not in favour of the referendum. He argues that ‘a referendum on what is already legally established cannot replace the legal validity of the administrative procedure.’  Seguí also mentions the process started in 2015 with a public tender for the technical realisation.

What next?

After final approval by the town planning department, the Council of Ministers must also give its consent. After that, project developers can get the green light with the grant of a building permit and the accompanying environmental survey. Construction work could begin in 2022, once the administrative process has been completed.

Some flaws

There are a number of flaws in the project. Not only are there issues with the foundations of the Digue de Levante, the proposed construction site. Málaga’s position as a sustainable ‘smart city’ is under threat if the building went ahead. None of these help the viability of this controversial project.

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