After the huge debacle of the Eroski Shopping Centre project collapsing amidst police investigations of corruption against the former mayor and some of his closest colleagues, news is beginning to emerge that other major brands, namely Lidl and Decathlon, may soon announce projects to establish a presence in the city.
The Eroski centre on Avenida Malaga had been intended to house a new bus station, a hypermarket, cinemas, food court, and other retail space, and the project collapse means hundreds of jobs that were to have been created during construction and then as part of ongoing operations have not materialised, leading the current PP/PA government to seek out new opportunities for investment in Ronda.
Ronda still does not have a current general plan (PGOU) for urban development, leaving many hoped for projects in a state of limbo, including hotel developments in the Casco Historico, and the much hyped tourist information and welcome centre along the Tajo. Of more pressing concern however is the lack of space within the industrial area for job creating investment.
Danial Harillo (Delegado de Obras y Urbanismo) the councellor for urban works has confirmed to Ronda Today that the PGOU is his highest priority, and that in the coming weeks he is hopeful the amendments presented by his team will be accepted by the Junta de Andalucia, and that after a 3 month public consultation it will be possible to sign off on the plan which has been in progress since 1995.
Additional zoning for new industrial and commercial developments is to be allocated on land near to the new hospital, as well as expanding the poligono towards the railway line and ring road, both of which would give much needed space for large developments. Lidl had previously expressed an interest in a plot adjacent to the Ford dealership on C/ Rio Odiel, however this now appears to be in doubt.
Decathlon had been mooted to be interested in taking control of one of the Supersol locations in the city, and the recent sale of the entire Supersol chain to Lithuania’s Maxima group could yet see one of the two stores close despite assurances to the contrary. Maxima group had been linked with France’s Carrefour chain as possible new owners of the two stores in Ronda, though it now appears Maxima will start a rebranding exercise nationally after an audit of store performance and customer profiling is completed.
Rumours around Ronda suggest the Supersol on Calle Genal would be the likely loser if one of the stores was to close, strong competition from Aldi and Mercadona having made the store uneconomic to operate, and despite the possible conversion of a vacant lot opposite Mercadona as the new location for the city bus station.
In related news, the mayor Maria-Paz Fernandez has confirmed she is keen to close a deal on the location of the old military headquarters in the city on c/ Commandante Salvador Carrasco which would see an underground carpark built along with a cultural centre and outdoor plaza that will likely house a library.