19th-century bullring project becomes highest-profile casualty in Spanish construction crisis so far

Construction work has halted on Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ redevelopment of Las Arenas, a 19th century bullring in Barcelona.

According to various media sources, builders downed tools last week on the £68m project after its owner, the Spanish investor Metrovacesa, was taken over by a consortium of smaller banks.

The new owners are reportedly mulling over what to do with the half-finished structure. As well as Rogers, British firms Expedition Engineering and Bovis Lend Lease have been engaged on the project as structural engineer and project manager respectively.

Lennart Grut, a director at RSH+P, told the Guardian: “We are unable to comment on how the Las Arenas project will proceed following the recent change in ownership. However, we continue to maintain our site presence.”

Las Arenas has been under construction since 2005, and was expected to complete next year. It is the highest-profile casualty so far of the crisis in Spanish construction. Buildings by architects such as Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Norman Foster have been put on hold as the market collapsed.

More than 2 million homes across the country are yet to be sold, and house prices are set to plummet 30% before 2012.