The development of the Turianova shopping centre is causing political debate, with dissonant voices coming from all sides, The Valencian has learned…
The Ministry of Economy has approved the development of a shopping centre next to La Fe Hospital on the grounds of Fuente de San Luis. The project will be spread over 168,000 square metres and will house 77,000 square metres of commercial and leisure facilities, as well as hotels, sports grounds, residential and office areas. The total investment is expected to be around €350 million and 1,200 new homes are to be built.
Turianova shopping centre will be part of the future barrio of Turianova, and a type of open-air retail complex similar to Heron City and Aqua, and the aim of promoter AQ Acentor is not to compete with the existing El Saler shopping centre, but to serve a rather large area around La Fe Hospital. AQ Acentor is a Spanish real estate developer of the German fund, Aquila Capital, and currently has projects in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia. The company has more than 6,000 new construction homes under development, with a total investment of around €1.6bn.
Although approved by the Generalitat, somehow the new project ended up in hot political waters. Surprisingly enough, the first to raise his concerns was the mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, who said that projects like this are not going well with the city model he likes the most. His concern was how this development would affect the small, neighbourhood shops that were already struggling in the pandemic era. In his words, the large shopping centres are a danger to this concept.
The president of the Trade, Services and Autonomos Association of the Valencian Community (Confecomerç CV), Rafael Torres, found it odd that such a project had been authorised because it would only lead to a “great oversaturation” of large areas and would not be able to add anything new to what already exists.
Things became even more complicated on the political front when María José Catalá, spokesperson for the Municipal Group of the Partido Popular (PP), expressed support for this project. She said that any investment in the city of Valencia should be welcomed as long as it can create jobs, particularly in the current situation.
This unexpected debate provoked the Minister of Sustainable Economy, Rafa Climent, who stressed that this project is “reasonable, sustainable and legal and follows the model of the Regional Sector Action Plan for Commerce of the Valencian Community (PATSECOVA).”
The size of the Turianova shopping centre (77,000 square metres) points to a huge development, much larger than the El Saler complex (47,000 square metres) or the MN4 (40.000). Its completion, regardless of the benefits to the surrounding area, will be an additional challenge to the vision of the Mayor – a city full of small neighbourhood shops.
Given the many challenges faced by small traders and increased competition from online retailers and shopping centres, we can expect the city centre to soon house only pharmacies, restaurants, hairdressers and small supermarkets. And a lot of empty, abandoned, ruined commercial space.