Prestigious shopping mall in the heart of Recoleta, Buenos Aires Design, which employs over 700 members of staff working in nearly 70 different stores and restaurants, is due to close on Sunday, November 18th. The concession of the property by IRSA – the leading owner of many shopping malls across Buenos Aires, such as Patio Bullrich and Alto Palermo – expires on Saturday evening. It is thus a devastating shock for many people across the city, not to mention the hundreds of employees that work there, that this building will no longer be the thriving gastronomy and design center that it has been for the last 25 years.
The transition between the end of the concession and the new call for bids generated uncertainty and distress among the tenants of the premises. IRSA considered that they would have sufficient time, once the contract expired, to allow retailers to continue functioning. It also claims that the order to leave the premises arrived just last Friday.
Nonetheless, the Gobierno de la Ciudad confirmed that as of Sunday, November 18th, it will assume possession of the building and that it’s currently looking into different options for the future. “The fact that the validity of this concession ends this Sunday was a matter already known in advance by all the intervening actors, both at the moment of signing the present contract, which began in 1993 as in the following contracts concluded,” sources from the Buenos Aires government commented.
Buenos Aires Design is based in the very heart of the chic and tourist-friendly district of Recoleta, beside the Señora del Pilar church surrounded by the green Plaza Intendente Torcuato de Alvear. There are many sites of deep historical interest just a hop-skip and a jump away, as the cemetery that famously holds Eva Perón’s grave and the Centro Cultural Recoleta.
Previously, the building was an abandoned dirt embankment, and it was rescued in November 1993 headed up by the late architect Clorindo Testa. Testa and his team transformed it into a beautiful colonial-style shopping mall, complete with terraces, galleries, and archways. The design-centric center has over 60 stores, complete with an outdoor patio full of bars, restaurants, food shops, and the classic Hard Rock Café, standing proud.
Uncertainty for the Future
Today, at the intersection of Av. del Libertador and Av. Pueyrredón 1,500 people raised their arms in protest of the closing of this historic building. These demonstrators carried signs begging for the continuation of the 25-year-old restored mall, as they believe that the effects will be disastrous for both their families and the members of the greater Recoleta community.
The employees of the shopping center, through a press release, requested that the current tenants be given a temporary permit of use and then proceed to the “immediate return of the establishments as soon as the schedules of the new project are in order.” However, the announcement by the Gobierno de la Ciudad seems to have rejected this possibility altogether.