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La Zenia biggest commercial centre in Spain
18 November 2011 @ 22:33

Source: EuroWeeklyNews

WORK is well underway on the enormous new La Zenia based Commercial Centre, destined to be among the biggest in the country.

It was beginning to seem as if the long-awaited Commercial Centre, to be situated beside the AP-7 toll in La Zenia, Orihuela Costa, was all a myth, as little work was being done there several months after the plans had been made public.

Even after the first stones were laid during an official act in February of this year, progress remained slow and rumours that the project may not go ahead continued to circulate.

However, now that summer is out of the way it is full steam ahead at the colossal building site, which appears to grow considerably everyday. And whilst closure of the bridge linking La Zenia to Villamartin is currently creating many problems for local people, it will all be worth the trouble when it is re-opened at the end of this month, featuring a pedestrian footbridge for a safer route to the centre.

The entire project is being managed by “Immochan España”, the Comercial Real Estate Company of the Auchan Group that is present in 11 countries worldwide and responsible for a staggering 312 commercial centres, encompassing some 2 million square metres of land.

Christened “Zenia Boulevard”, the company’s latest centre will encompass a whopping 180,000 square meters plot, incorporating 150 shops of all kinds, an “Alcampo” superstore and  5,000 parking spaces, half of which will be underground.

Among those confirmed are international names like Auchan, Norauto, C & A, Worten, Leroy Merlin, Decathlon, Primark, and the Inditex Group, which includes high street favourites Zara, Zara Home, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Oysho and Bershka.

It is not only shop-a-holics that will benefit from the ambitious venture, but also the local labour market, with an anticipated 1,800 jobs being created directly within the centre and almost 3,000 on a global scale.

So How Do Local People View The Project?

Whilst many people can appreciate the benefits of having such an enormous Commercial Centre right on their doorstep, others feel that it could be potentially damaging to the local area, and pose a threat to smaller businesses which are already struggling to survive.

Elaine Poole from Cabo Roig is among those who are thrilled at the prospect, commenting that “I personally think the new commercial centre is a brilliant idea for the local economy and also the work situation. 

A number of smaller businesses operating locally are already suffering due to the mass influx of Chinese shops here, and if the presence of a new commercial centre in the area will reduce the number of these Chinese shops all the better!

I am not concerned about the increase in traffic produced, as those travelling long distances to the new centre will come straight off the motorway into the shopping centre, and I think it will alleviate the current congestion in Torrevieja, particularly around the Habanaras Commercial Centre and Carrefour. 

I do not feel that there will be any problems with rubbish generated from the centre, as Orihuela Costa council has always worked hard to keep this area reasonably clean and tidy”.

Secondary School Teacher from Villamartin, Kate Sloan, thinks on the whole the new commercial development will be a good thing for the area. “It is already providing work in the construction sector, not to mention the employment that will be generated when it opens”.

“It is also appealing that it has recreational facilities that my 12- year old daughter can use as she will be able to go there independently. As for existing businesses in the locality, I’m not sure that they will suffer too much. Competition is healthy and good for the customer, and if the independent stores have what I’m looking for I will continue to buy from them.”

Susan Holmes from Pilar de la Horadada is also excited about the project, although unsure as to whether Orihuela Costa is busy enough all year round to warrant such a large complex.

She commented that “As a lover of shopping I think it's great. Especially as there's talk of Primark! I think it will be very busy in the summer, and a relief for the tourists to walk around the air conditioned shops.

But are there enough tourists around out of season?” Conversely, Ted and Sheila Foster of Eagles Nest, feel that the investment would be better spent elsewhere.

“With so many businesses closing down or struggling to make ends meet, and the number of empty or unfinished houses in the area with no signs of growth in the near future, we think the Commercial Centre is a complete waste of money. However, this is Spain and I know that someone will be making a good living out of it!”

Bar Manager, David Smith from Playa Flamenca supported the objections saying that “Businesses on the OC do really well during the summer when there are lots of holiday makers around, but everything dies a death at the end of the season, and bars, shops and other businesses start closing down.

This has left a plethora of smaller commercial centres across the area with only a few businesses operating and the rest empty units. It looks bad for the area and doesn’t do any favours to those who have remained open, as there is less to attract people to the centres, which end up looking tired and scruffy.

With this in mind I think that a massive new commercial centre will crush all of the smaller businesses which won’t be able to compete on price or offer the facilities that the new development will have. Why go to the smaller retailers if you can get everything you want, from DIY goods to clothes, as well as bars, restaurants and recreational facilities, all under one roof?”

Like 0


Christine - San Pedro del Pinatar said:
26 November 2011 @ 12:12

I personnally think it will be a great opportunity for the area. If it is going to be a threat for the current small businesses : yes, even for the Habaneras centre, actually. You comment the small retailers already struggle to survive, and as an inhabitant of the area, I must admit I never visit them - I would if I was recommended one - and either go shopping to the already existing commercial centres in Murcia, Cartagena and Torrevieja instead of visiting those, even though that means a longer drive. I believe I am not the only one acting this way, unfortunately, that is a general tendency. That is why I believe it will be excellent for our area, as it will dynamise it, and give serious work opportunities when the struggling jobs in retailers may be threaten in a short term anyway.

Dudley de Mello said:
26 November 2011 @ 13:32

It is going to be absolutely fantastic when ZENIA BOULEVARD is completed. Sorry the little businesses are going to suffer, but there again you really don't get quality things from these little shops.Everything seems to come closer home and it is all walking distance for most of us and it is going to be great. I think it is going to be very good for properties around this area and for work as well.Really looking forward to this new shopping centre,

comotuquieres said:
26 November 2011 @ 20:14

Great news for the area despite the disruption,the dusty cars, having to go round &round the roundabouts as "no" "no" signs are not necessary to warn drivers at the previous roundabout to say " sorry the road ahead is closed until further notice" or any indication of the diversion for the traffic. So hundreds of motorists kept on reaching the roundabout and yes there is a sign saying "whoops no exit- carry on going round &round the roundabout until you can decide which exit to take or... just follow the car in front of you." Many road users never used the back roads so they were lost causing a real jam. Tough even if you do not want to go in the opposite direction to Playa Flemenca its your lucky day now you will . It was fun to watch people going round &round &round made me feel quiet dizzy
Well 3 days of dizzy spells:) Well also good old "San Jose" our builder who had already applied and got themselves protected
the creditors some 6 years are back in business as there is a huge sign .We remember how the communities had been left with huge bills to sort out the mess and all the unfinished jobs that they left behind. But then this is the P.P's territory and B&C es "regular," It will be a blessing if they can also give a face lift to our nearly dangerous inner roads. Wonder if Bob Houston will do much about this now that he has been voted in to have an office at the local town hall.
Seriously the new shopping center will be like a breath of fresh air. I wonder if all the branches of various banks will move back again like the HaliFax who moved from 4 km away to 1/2 a km to be nearer and then changed to "Lloyd International." So I moved in with "Bank Caja" No fuss no Charges What more one can ask for huuum. My only worry is"will Borja (our local Fontaneria+++,(My good friends) survive with the excellent service that Paco & his sister Gloria has been providing for the last 10 years and longer?"

Andy Voaden said:
27 November 2011 @ 22:38

A disaster in the making.. nobody wants it... A blot - on - the - landscape and the locals who live in La Zenia did not move here to Spain for shopping... If you want shopping cement centres... move to Milton Keynes...!!
It is already looking a mess of ugly grey coloured non descript buildings waiting for the graffiti experts... My advice... Stay well clear... The whole area has become an eyesore... my advice is... don't waste your holiday efforts on this mess.

An interested party said:
28 November 2011 @ 00:09

@ comotuquieres WHATEVER are you rabbitting on about??

Richard said:
04 December 2011 @ 20:02

It will be ok for a while but you wait and see if they or when they put the tolls up at la zenia junction on the motorway then it will be back to the good old traffic jams on the n332.

pauldav said:
20 December 2011 @ 20:24

hi , i have an appartment at molino blanco can anyone tell me how close this shopping centre is to me ? an when its due to finish ? thanks paul

pauldav said:
20 December 2011 @ 20:37

hi , i have an appartment at molino blanco can anyone tell me how close this shopping centre is to me ? an when its due to finish ? thanks paul

Jamie said:
27 December 2011 @ 11:57

hi Paul I'm not sure if you are aware of the sun golf villas, near villa Martin urbanisation, if you have been there and headed back out to go towards Cabo roig, you would have driven over the fly over bridge, which the shopping centre is just to the left of that bridge. Hope this helps? Maybe just search google maps from molino blanco to villa Martin and it would be a rough guide?

pauldav said:
04 January 2012 @ 20:49

hi jamie thanks for your responce .. ive not been to la zenia for 4 yrs , had a long term rental in so i wouldnt know what you are talkin about lol re: the bridge but yeh thanks ill google it ! i need to get another rental init asap cause am struggling with the morgage payments if anyone has any ideas ?

karen said:
30 January 2012 @ 19:41

Hi does anyone no how to apply for a job at the new centre???

An interested party (blog owner) said:
31 January 2012 @ 19:11

@ Karen, see here (copy &paste into your browser)

5th January: It says "LA ZENIA Boulevard, the new commercial centre in Orihuela Costa, will open later this year and in December, a Marketing Director was appointed to promote the new centre which will house, amongst others, Europe’s biggest Primark, Leroy Merlin and Decathlon.

It is hoped that the centre will officially open before the summer, possibly in June, however it has actually been scheduled to open in September.

A recruitment drive will take place shortly for bilingual staff at the centre and more than 2000 jobs will be created as a result of this new centre.

Spanish lessons are available for free at many Town Halls in the area, so if you would like to be considered for one of these jobs, get your name down on a Spanish language course. If you are lucky enough to be bilingual already, the Town Hall in Playa Flamenca is collating CVs for the centre’s Directors, so if you would like to be considered for a position during the recruitment drive, please hand yours in at the International Residents Office."

Andrew said:
08 May 2012 @ 13:52

My advice is to now stay well clear of La Zenia.... It has become a concrete eyesore. I now have the misfortune to live in La Zenia since this hideous project was given the go-ahead. All I keep hearing from these blogs is how the locals are so looking forward to it's opening. Well don't believe a word of it. Most of the locals I speak to are dead against it and will boycott it like the plague. The only people who seem to want it are a few idiots who can't live in Spain without cheap tat Primark clothing and even then it will be the Spanish shop version. If these people are getting so excited about shopping then why bother moving to Spain..?
Sounds like Milton Keynes would be more up their street, although that's what this place now looks like.
A complete mess on all accounts from the road infrastructure to the place itself.. On course to be another Spanish white elephant that is more likely to become Europe's leading Graffiti Centre... Angry... you bet I am when you see such a nice area destroyed. Just hoping my house will sell so I can move away from here before the area becomes a complete dump, which it is already beginning to look.

Jane (idiot who has lived in Spain for 10 years) said:
20 September 2012 @ 13:43


GET A LIFE!!! and please refrain from calling us who are looking forward to something new in this area IDIOTS!!!


Gerry said:
13 November 2012 @ 13:37

What a shopping centre, its fantastic & I hate shopping. THe big plus for is the huge cinema screen to watch the footie while the wifes away shopping. Its also got a proper kids area up stairs . It has some of the best clothes designer shops with the gear to rival anywhere in europe.
Its also great to sit outside and enjoy a coffee without the fear of rain constantly on your mind.
Andrew you are entitled to your opinion but the quicker you leave the better for all in the area. By the way I just a bought a place & I love the area !

julie andrews said:
23 November 2012 @ 13:44

As 90./' of the traffic is coming past my house and my disabled husband now has to walk some distance to find our car, I hope it is a miserable failure! We came to Spain for a peaceful retirement not this torment. I doubt we could sell our house now, and I certainly dont want it!

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