The pedestrianization of the Raval de Santa Anna de Reus revitalizes the Plaza de Catalunya
The pedestrianization of the Raval de Santa Anna de Reus revitalizes the Plaza de Catalunya, where three new businesses have recently set up headquarters. Two of the establishments are in the catering sector: a brewery and an Indian food restaurant. The restaurateurs note that the calming of traffic in this area is a "key factor" to attract the public to this new "meeting point".
The works of the second phase of transformation of the suburb of Santa Anna begin this Thursday, October 13 and the execution period is four months. The future culmination of the pedestrianization of the suburb gives rise to a wider old quarter that generates new "locations with potential", in the eyes of the restorers. That's what the entrepreneur in charge of the Cerveseria Celler Brewing, Abel Riba, thinks, who has installed the first terrace that has welcomed the Plaza de Catalunya, at least in recent years. Being pedestrianized since 2017, approximately, and connecting with the suburb of Santa Anna, Riba thought it could be a good option.
The appearance of a terrace in the square "already marks a change", points out the restaurateur, who was looking for a location "with potential and this one has it". He found it by chance, "it is secluded and not overcrowded," he points out. Despite the fact that "there are a lot of stores closed" in the area, the man from Reus believes that the fact that businesses are opening there "will make everything more dynamic." “We want to give life to this square, it was a bit abandoned”, he describes. It is the first time that the entrepreneur opens a business on his own account. "I have turned my hobby into my job," he celebrates. It has been active for a few months and mainly offers the public craft beer, with Catalan and State references. "We also have our own beer," it's called La Ganxeta: "I make the recipe and a company makes it, then brings it to me in a barrel."
The restaurateur Víctor Perales, a member of the Hospitality Guild of the Tarragona Association of Hospitality Business Associations in Reus, says that pedestrianization helps every restaurant. "Since the tobacco law changed and smoking is not allowed indoors, terraces have become very important for smokers and in summer they are already essential in many cases," he exposes. The arrival of the pandemic, he points out, has also been a factor that "has made people want to be outside more than inside," he concludes.
Shops and businesses that overlook Plaça de Catalunya find that the appearance of restaurateurs can be a "claim" and that traffic calming can generate more movement of people. Until now, the square was an unattractive space for restaurateurs and businesses on the street, there was only a cafeteria that recently lowered the blind, the Chamber of Urban Property and other administrative businesses and a shoe store.
Commercial rotation has been a constant in the square, as well as in other areas of the city. Taking into account the existing businesses, the place once housed from a hairdresser, a photo shop and a bank to a flower shop, a cafeteria and a pharmacy, the Ornosa (before moving a few meters to the suburb of Santa Anna) . This commercial movement, guided by trends, makes it possible to come up with some of the most curious business ideas on the roads that lead to the square: Calle del Roser, for example, is one of the roads that leads to the square from Riera de He looked and has come to host shops as varied as one for clothing or another that put items from lost luggage found at airports on sale.
Carreró de la Sang, to give another example, once housed a real estate company and on the corner that overlooks the suburb of Pallol and the square, where today there is an agency, there was a business that installed air conditioners. This road was also fixed and the cobblestones were removed. Since then, the Llar d'Infants La Granja has had more facilities. «Before, more cars passed by, now only those that park in the area, very few; people walk more easily and fathers and mothers who come with strollers bring them more safely, the street and the square have changed a lot, "they distinguish from said business.
A door to the center
For his part, the owner of Calzados Ortiz, Manel Barajas, explains that they have been in the shoe store that overlooks the square for between eight and nine years. “We have seen it change a lot and we believe that pedestrianization can draw the attention of more people who come walking and, as a result, have a more humane area, without so much car noise,” he comments.
A terrace, the merchant believes, can be "an incentive" and reactivate the social life of the square. The owner reviews the different changes that this has gone through, in terms of traffic reorganization: it stands out when the place still had parking for cars, then it became a loading and unloading area and then it was no longer possible to leave the car, when pedestrianize. Barajas values the pedestrianization of the suburb as a factor that can revitalize Plaza de Catalunya, which went from "delimiting the center of the periphery years ago", they express in turn to the Daily residents of the area, to now become a "gateway to the center".
The completion of the transformation of the suburb of Santa Anna and the appearance of real estate developments nearby, both in the suburb of Pallol and in the Plaza de la Sang -also transformed with the equalized urban pavement-, have been changing the physiognomy of the area in many senses. The proximity, on the other hand, with municipal projects such as Reus Espais Vius, promoted by the Department of Business and Occupation of the Reus City Council, is another addition that aims to change the place. The plan wants to promote change, attracting triple impact businesses to empty premises in the suburbs of Sant Pere and Robuster. Both suburbs are not so far from Plaza de Catalunya, connected by the Pallol suburb and Plaza de la Sang. Nearby is also the Nou Center shopping gallery, which, according to the competent councilor, Carles Prats, said in mid-May, is one of the galleries with which "we will have to work, we plan to talk to its owners about renting the premises and about what trade model there may be in the future.
The mayor hopes that the Reus Espais Vius project – of which, he said, there would be news soon – “ends up having a positive impact on the Nou Centre”. After all, an area in full transformation.