Opium nightclub will stay open for another year on Barcelona's sea front

The State extends the leisure venue's contract despite announced plans to grow the CSIC at this site

2 min
The Somorrostro beach in Barcelona with the Opium discotheque in the background, the spot where the dead woman was found on Sunday

BarcelonaThe disappearance of the Opium nightclub on Barcelona's seafront will not be as quick as announced this July, when the City Council presented an agreement sealed with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to make it possible for the premises to be used to expand the facilities of the Mediterranean Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CMIMA) in the city. Although the plan was to immediately hand over the provisional use of the space while the project and the tender for the works progressed, they will now not be able to start before September next year. The State government, which is the owner of these premises on the seafront, has extended Opium's lease for another year, as confirmed by the owners of the nightclub, who had already announced that they planned to challenge the agreement in court. They considered that the decision was "unilateral" and "purely ideological" to "punish" nightlife venues in the area. They now know the business will be allowed to continue at least for another year.

In October 2020, when the Ministry of Finance put 26 premises on the sea front out to tender 30 years after they were built for the 1992 Olympics, it left five out (Opium, Shoko, Carpe Diem, Aqua and Ice Bar). The Council felt this was a positive move, since these are the closest to the Institute of Marine Sciences and they were already thinking about a future expansion of CSIC centres. But while all this was being planned, lease extensions were agreed for these establishments: five years for most of them and only two years for Opium, because it was right in front of the research centre. And, therefore, the first one where the intervention was planned. That two-year extension expired in September, but in 2020 it was also decided the contract could be extended for additional one-year periods. The contract has now been extended until September 2023.

Regarding this change of schedule, the City Council states that the agreement already specified that it was the CSIC's responsibility to start the procedures to make the move effective and as well as the change in ownership. The text also stated that it was the Council's job to make available the preliminary draft of works promoted from the Office by the Coastal Plan. However, the City Council understands that the first step was the change in ownership, and that it only needs to work on its side of the deal once ownership has been transferred. Either way, the project has not made sufficient progress and the Ministry of Finance has ended up granting an extension to the current tenants.

Expansion in two phases

The protocol signed between the CSIC and the City Council, which was presented at the end of July, established that the expansion of the research centre would be carried out, firstly, in the premises where Opium is now located, through the transfer of the space, which occupies 2,565 square meters, by the State, and that the City Council undertook to provide the economic resources to finance the transformation. In a second phase, the possibility of adding the two premises adjacent to Opium, once the extension of their lease has expired (and provided that it is not extended again), to the expansion of the scientific facilities was opened up.