20 October 2017 – El Periódico Mediterráneo
“Clearly, times have changed”. With that phrase, José Benlloch, the mayor of Vila-real, acknowledged that the plots of land in Espai Vila-real may be reclassified (in terms of their use), now that the Government has decided that the intermodal station will not be constructed in Castellón.
One door closes, but others open, and the Town Hall wants to be prepared not to waste its opportunities. It is for that reason that Benlloch is planning to meet the owners of the land, spanning 1 million m2, which comprises this Comprehensive Action Plan (PAI), to find out “what options are being considered in terms of its ownership and to inform them about the current possibilities”.
The mayor seems willing to modify the uses of the land if necessary and to “change the terms of the program, provided there are expectations on the part of the owners”. The one option the municipal corporation has ruled out is the large shopping centre that the Popular Government’s team, led by Juan José Rubert, planned in 2007. That plan included, amongst other matters, the arrival of the Swedish multinational Ikea in the town.
One of the options that is gaining strength at the moment is the conversion of these plots, located opposite Porcelanosa, into a logistics hub, linked to the construction of the third strand of the Mediterranean Corridor. Such infrastructure is being demanded not only by the Regional Government but also by most of Valencia’s businesses. “We are aware that if this goes ahead, users will need places for storing goods temporarily, and we think that these plots are perfect for that, given that they are located in the heart of a very industrial district, La Plana Baixa”, explained the mayor.
Even though this idea will be on the table at the meeting between the Town Hall and the landowners, Benlloch is convinced that this question may be “compatible” with other proposals linked to the installation of new industries and projects relating to services, as well as the business that may be negotiated over the next few months. That said, the mayor wants to begin the new phase that is been opened by drawing “a roadmap that is shared” with the owners.
Original story: El Periódico Mediterráneo (by Xavi Prera)
Translation: Carmel Drake