The €60m sports arena that will never open
Jessica Jones · 16 Feb 2015, 10:28
Published: 16 Feb 2015 10:28 GMT+01:00
After spending €58 million on a state of the art, multi-use facility, the local government in Navarre does not know what to do with it.
From the outside, the Reyno de Navarra Arena is impressive and imposing; a giant white cube covered in 933 smaller illuminating cubes. But the nearby streets are silent and wire fences surround the unused public building.
The project is the latest victim of the crisis, just one in a long line of white elephants that have plagued Spain since 2008.
The building was approved back in 2008 as a response to the economic crisis, part of a €4.5 billion plan by the community of Pamplona.
The scheme was modelled on Plan E, the series of ill-advised measures put in place by the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to use public money to attempt to boost Spain’s economic activity.
But the sports and cultural centre has yet to open, with no sign that it will in the near future, the latest victim of Spain’s building boom.
As it lies empty, it is hemorrhaging cash: security and maintenance alone cost around €250,000 a year, while expected demand has plummeted.
"The demands and habits of the general public have changed due to the crisis," Ángel Vázquez, consultant on the project, told Spanish daily, El País.
According to Socialist party politician, Roberto Jiménez, "If we could go back to 2008, nobody would have taken this decision (to go ahead with the build), we thought that the crisis would be over quickly."
The local government has now dismissed purely public running of the centre and is exploring public-private partnerships.
For sports events the arena could hold up to 10,000 spectators, while the capacity for concerts increases to 12,000.
Spain's white elephants
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Ciudad Real airport
Another airport white elephant, Ciudad Real’s empty airport became an enduring symbol of Spain’s economic crisis. Saddled with debts of nearly €529 million, the airport closed in 2012 after just three years of operating.
Dry ski slope near Valladolid
Opening a dry ski slope in a village of 100 inhabitants might not be the wisest idea. Funnily enough, the €12 million project stalled and became another of Spain’s white elephants.