Twenty-eight years after Mateo Álvarez donated the historic Trapiche del Prado estate to Marbella council on the condition that it was used to create a home for the elderly, the project has begun to take shape. The contracts for the plans and the works will be put to tender simultaneously so it will be finished during the council's present term of office, before the municipal elections in 2023.
This is actually a double project: the 17th-century property, which is classified as a Building of Cultural Interest (BIC), will be restored and a residential home with 128 places will be constructed. There is a need for a new facility of this type; at present 60 people are on the waiting list for a place in a publicly-run care home.
The project will cost 12.5 million euros, of which 3.8 million will be spent on restoring the building, which will include an information centre, and the remainder on building the home. The restoration will be partly financed from EU funds, while money awarded by the courts to the council after winning cases of corruption will be used for the construction.
Separate teams will be used for the two parts of the project, although municipal technicians say some of the works will have to be coordinated The restoration cannot be completed without part of the home being constructed, and the home cannot be built until some of the restoration is done.
The present building is described as being in a state of 'advanced ruin', although a good part of the original structures have been preserved.
Best possible location
When preparing the report, surveys were carried out around the historic building to see if there were any other archaeological remains on the site, so the best possible location could be identified for the new residential home The initial idea is for it to have 68 rooms, most of them double. One of the challenges will be to make the new building visually compatible with the historic one. The site includes buildings which have been added throughout the estate's history, including an aqueduct which was hidden by a later construction and will be recovered as part of this project. The roofs and wooden floors of the original building will be restored, as will the 'molino de sangre', a unique building with remarkable architectural value.