It thus hopes to harmonise its present function with business projects to create wealth and employment, boost tourism and bring society nearer to this complex located in privileged natural surroundings
In July the Port Authority of Bilbao will begin the process of offering in public tender the award of a licence for a maximum 25-year initial period to operate the building complex at La Galea Lighthouse in Getxo, as a restaurant.
The lighthouse is in Getxo, Biscay at the entrance to the Port of Bilbao’s Outer Abra and stands at 76 metres above sea level on the La Galea headland. The size and characteristics of the lighthouse building complex, along with its location in singular natural surroundings, but also near to the town of Getxo, seem to indicate that it has great potential for activities connected to catering, such as bars/restaurants. Thus, in the words of AsierAtutxa, the Port Authority Chairman “We are giving a social and economic value to its leisure spaces and creating business developments with the resulting creation of wealth and employment”.
Atutxaundelines the fact that “on the one hand, the aim is to try to make the spaces profitable, conserve them and thus, bring them closer to society and provide a singular tourist offer. Likewise, we want to encourage and boost the catering and gastronomic business fabric”. The setting up of complementary catering uses of the lighthouse and signals is subject to their not conditioning or limiting the signalling service, which must always be appropriate.
The land to be awarded in tender occupies some 1,600m², including the area associated with the lighthouse building complex, that is, three independent rectangular one-floor buildings, once the area occupied by the lighthouse tower and that by technical equipment is deduced, which will not form part of the licence. Also included are the outside and parking spaces, a building complex which requires complete restoration on behalf of the licensee as well as later conditioning for its intended use.
Criteria for the awarding of the tender and choice of licensee are linked with four main conditions concerning the plans for the works to be carried out (in the building itself and the outside area, equipment and interior decoration), the business plan
(business model and human resources commitments), investment commitments and an economic-financial study of the licence.
Lighthouses in Biscay
Lighthouses, bearing in mind their functions, used to be located in natural privileged surroundings and have undoubted historical, cultural interest. However, present day technology, the improvement in communications and the new way to manage lighthouses, with the successive introduction of automatic signalling processes, mean that it is now unnecessary to house people responsible for their upkeep and their families on the same site.
In this sense, the Port Authority of Bilbao has carried out a previous analysis of its maritime signalling services with a view to attempting to harmonise the complementary uses that could be developed in their leisure areas particularly for restaurant services because of their specific connection to tourism.
Biscay has four lighthouses all belonging to the Port Authority of Bilbao – Punta Galea, Gorliz, Matxitxako and Lekeitio.Santa Catalina Lekeitio Lighthouse has been handed over to Lekeitio Town Council while that at Gorliz has little land, so only Matxitxako and Punta Galea are appropriate for conversion into restaurants. At present, Punta Galea Lighthouse is the first to be put out to tender.