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An artist's impression of Malaga's planetarium project. SUR
Malaga Planetarium, the largest in Spain, still on hold despite it getting green light from planners
Astronomy

Malaga Planetarium, the largest in Spain, still on hold despite it getting green light from planners

The business partners said that the delay meeting building licence conditions is not caused by problems financing the project, and assured that construction work will start at the beginning of 2026

Jesús Hinojosa

Malaga

Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 13:38

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Last month marked four years since Malaga city council resolved the tender to award a plot of land located next to the Benítez camp and the Ikea shopping centre for the construction of a planetarium.

A company formed by local engineering firm Gestomer won the tender to construct it, working together with renowned Malaga astronomer Alberto Castro Tirado and multinational Sky-Skan. After a long delay of more than three years, in November last year the city hall approved the granting of the building permit. However, more than six months later, this project is still at a standstill.

SUR can confirm the city council has not yet issued the building permission as the developers have not yet fulfilled the conditions set by the planning department to obtain it. These conditions included the presentation of the project for its construction, other urban planning documents and the payment of a deposit of 75,283 euros to guarantee the replanting of trees affected by construction on the plot of land. The construction of the planetarium involves the removal of 234 trees and the transplanting of a further ten.

As the building permit has not yet been issued, the three-month period stipulated in the tender for work to begin on the planetarium has not started. However, the six-month period stipulated in the approval of the licence to fulfil the necessary conditions for its issuing has already elapsed. This non-compliance by the developers, by not responding to these conditions, means city hall can cancel the building permit. However, council sources said they are not yet considering this.

When questioned by SUR, the businessmen behind the proposal who won the tender assured they are "in negotiations with the main partner, but, unfortunately, for the moment we cannot provide any additional information, as the talks are subject to a confidentiality clause". They also said they are "working hard to achieve the opening of the planetarium in early 2026". When the building permit was approved in November last year, they announced "Malaga Planetarium will be inaugurated in 2025", however that will now not happen.

The business partners said this delay is not caused by problems in financing the project, and claimed "there are closures pending" to finalise certain contracts. "There are several partners and there are confidentiality clauses in this regard. But we are clear that the works will start on time at the beginning of 2026," they added.

Location of the plot on which the construction of a planetarium is planned. SUR

The planetarium works involve an investment of around ten million euros. As reported in 2020, the Malaga planetarium will be the largest in Spain and one of the largest in the European Union, as its main hall, with a capacity for 400 people. It will be built on a plot of 8,811 square metres, next to the road that connects the N-340 with the Guadalmar motorway and there will be 116 parking spaces on site.

Some 500,000 visitors a year are expected to visit the site. On one of the two floors of the building, science and technology exhibitions will be held, and there will also be a space for educational workshops on science and technology for young people.

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