The Renovating buildings for public use is a complicated task which on many occasions is postponed for years, even decades. It sometimes happens that they develop more or less good plans and ideas for disused constructions, but they take time to go from paper to reality. And that’s when they do it. Cordova has a good catalog of buildings that are still waiting for their ownerswhether public or private, decide to give it a use.
An example of this is the Baroque mansion of the convent of Santa Cruzan architectural gem unknown to most Cordobans, mainly because it cannot be visited despite its latest renovation It was paid almost entirely with public funds and was private property.. The Poor Clare nuns have been restoring little by little what they could, but the most recent and notable intervention in this former novices’ house from the 18th century was done through the 1.5% cultural contribution from the Ministry of Public Works.
The investment reached 560,000 euros financed by the central government (65%), Vimcorsa (25%) and the congregation that owns the mansion (10%). The works were completed in 2017 and, in theory, it should house a center interpretation of playgrounds conventuals. This was agreed by the City Council in 2013, but the monument remains without a specific use.
The Barter Yard
If we talk about patios in Cordoba, it is worth remembering the one in the 4 Barter Street. In 2014, the municipal company Vimcorsa paid about 240,000 euros for its purchase plus the same for a renovation which was paid from the Large Cities Tourism Plan, apart from the maintenance for a decade at a rate of 72,000 euros per year according to municipal estimates.
The house, owned by Vimcorsa, which in the previous mandate announced its intention of selling it to the City Council, it was to serve as an interpretation center for the Patios He dedicated himself to it for a short time. In 2019, the PP and Cs government team decided to close it to the public to save costs and now the mayor’s intention, José María Bellidothe thing is serve only as a place for formal events. The problem, as the councilor explained on his day, is the lack of municipal staff to keep it open.
That same handicap, the shortage of workers at City Hall, explains the closure of another unique monument in perfect condition for your visit: the Roman mausoleums of Puerta Gallegos. They date back to the 1st century, they were discovered in 1993 and later restored, but they have been closed for years with occasional openings for events such as the Kalendas competition.
To open them to the public, the capital’s City Council has chosen to turn to an external company after having tried a collaboration formula with the University of Cordoba that did not come to fruition. The first tender was void but, at the end of last year, after a new specification of conditions, the City Council awarded the management of visits to a private company for a cost of 24,000 euros per year. Tourists will be able to see the mausoleums again, if all goes well, later this year, although a specific date is not yet known. The winning company is Sexto Mario from Córdoba.
Very close to these patrician tombs, in the gardens of the Duke of Rivas, is the Pergola building. Neoclassical in style, it was built in 1929 and restored at the end of the last century, with an approximate cost of 800,000 euros, for public use. It was room exhibition and hospitality establishment, although only this last use was maintained until the City Council canceled the license in 2008. It reopened again in 2015 as a creative and cultural space called Modo. However, In 2019, Urban Planning denied the extension of the transfer based on in the non-payment of the fee by the successful bidder, who took this decision to the court. That same year, the previous PP and Cs government team announced that workers would move there Imtur and that its reform would be immediate. At the beginning of 2024, the building is still waiting to be used.
There are other buildings that have been closed for less time. This is the case of the Amador de los Ríos library, located in the historic center. The opening of the modern Grupo Cántico library buildinginaugurated last week after 20 years of waiting, has involved the closure of the old headquarters in Amador de los Ríos. For this property closed since December there is plans in motionhow to adapt it to solve the nearby space problems Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. The Board, owner of the facilities, does not want to delay years in giving it a new use, knowing that an empty building deteriorates quickly.
Military buildings are another story. Many of them, such as barracks and facilities within the city, lost their functions at the end of the last century, when a profound reform of the Army that ended forced conscriptions. Modern combat troops need more technology and fewer soldiers, and that means fewer facilities. This group includes Zone, the Military Pharmacy, the Lepanto barracks or Royal Stables, in which Defense has invested just enough so that they do not fall. Now there are plans for all of them, but none of them are a concrete reality yet.
The Military Pharmacya huge building 5,600 square meters Located behind the Central Library in what was once the Lepanto barracks, it is in good condition. It was in use, unlike other military facilities, until 2018, although it has been empty since then. Since 2022 there is a agreement between the City Council and the Ministry of Defense to lease the Pharmacy for a fee of 50,000 euros per year. The intention is to build a senior center there and carry out an expansion of the library and an archive. The rental was signed with a purchase option that, on paper, should materialize in this year 2024. The senior center is pending an agreement with the Junta of Andalusia by which the Consistory is in charge of its construction and the autonomous administration of its management. At the moment, the Military Pharmacy remains empty.
As for the Military Zone (or Trinidad barracks), its situation is somewhat more complex, but it is now closer to finding a medium-term solution. This military building is even larger than the Pharmacy, with its 6,400 meters of surface, but it has been in disuse since 2001 and different plans have been made for it that until now had not come to fruition. However, The University of Córdoba bought the entire facilities in January to respond to the space problems of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. The sale price was 2.5 million euros. From now on, its reform remains, which UCO It is not expected to begin before two years, since numerous procedures remain ahead prior to the works.
On this route It is worth passing through another group of buildings with a different use. They are constructions of high historical value for which there are plans to enhance them but which have not come to fruition.
One of them is the Regina convent. In 2023, the mayor, José María Bellido, announced that its restoration is a project that could see the light of day within two years and that its tender will be imminent. In 2018, the local government at the time (PSOE and IU) commissioned the reform works, which the successful bidder never started. The restoration was planned within the Tourism Plan for Large Cities, from which aid of half a million euros was lost due to works that were not carried out. In addition, the convent had aid of almost half a million euros of the 1.5% cultural amount that had to be returned to the Government for the same reason. The intention is to create a cultural container for contemporary artists in the old monastery without the need to maintain a permanent collection.
He Pósito de La Corredera It is an old barn that has almost as many years on its walls (500) as there are failed ideas for its renovation. The last three mayors have presented their proposals. Jose Antonio Nieto (PP) wanted to link the building to the restoration with a model similar to that of the Victoria Market; Isabel Ambrosio (PSOE) preferred a cultural endowment; and now Bellido proposes that be something similar to the Orive Room, with space for storage of cultural goods. No model has become a reality and only emergency interventions have been made. The exterior gives no idea of the true state of ruin in which its interior is found.
private property does not escape the tendency to keep buildings closed. In Córdoba the ancients can be seen in this situation. Isabel La Católica or Alkázar cinemas. First It opened its doors in 1968 and closed forever in 2007.. It currently belongs to a Malaga company dedicated to the management of cinemas, but there are no plans for its reopening or its transformation into another economic activity.
Alkázar, on the other hand, does have a future ahead of it in the short term, although it is now far from the stars of the big screen. It has been closed since 2011 and in 2019 it was acquired by the Córdoba company Grupo Barea. which has been adapting it since last year to accommodate commercial premises and thus give it a new life. The pandemic It delayed plans but soon it will no longer be a ghost building.
He Admiral cinemain it Figueroa Parkit has been almost four decades closed, since 1987. It is privately owned and since its closure different proposals have emerged, such as its conversion into a sports and wellness center or that the City Council take over the property so that it ends up being a hotel for seniors. This project was proposed during the mandate of Isabel Ambrosio (2015-2019) and since then there has been no further progress.
Other examples of unused buildings are the convent of Santa Isabel, closed since 2016 after its sale by the Poor Clares and pending renovation by the company that acquired it for its transformation into a hotel; or the Palacete de los Burgos, where they have failed projects to date related to tourism for its restoration, so It has not been able to be converted into a five-star hotel.
Buildings that have spaces to use
In some cases, certain buildings, such as the Royal Stables, have unused spaces. The plans for Caballerizas are very advanced. In 2002 they were transferred to the City Council and in 2010 Córdoba Ecuestre took over part of the building. The problem has always been the ownership of the Stables, which the City Council has tried for years to obtain. In the end they opted for expropriation, through which they paid just over 5 million to Defense. They are already municipal property and the plan is to locate the International Horse Center there and give cultural use to the upper floor of the main block.