As if the Romans needed a new, fabulous shopping mall (they obviously take this Forum business very seriously), a 7 story building is going up right in my neighborhood. Errr..make that, was going up. Like many of the half-finished concrete structures you see scattering the Italian landscape, this one, too, just 1km from the center of Rome, is now just a scaffolding-encased empty carcass, waiting for its doors to open.
While usually in our fair country building is stopped because it was illegal to begin with, this one actually started off with all the paperwork in place. But then, the builders pulled a fast one; although the problem was visible to all us residents from the moment they started digging: Where on earth would all those shoppers park?
Now, I have always (naively, I know now) thought that the Italians’ penchant for making buildings without conceiving of parking was due to their usual simple lack of planning and organization. The examples are endless: at IKEA, a place which gets 40,000 visitors on any given Sunday, the parking structure holds about 2000 cars.
To make your appointment at a business complex outside of Milan which houses every major corporation there, you must pretty much park your car about a mile away and then flag down a good samaritan to give you a lift in the rest of the way – or risk circling for hours to find a spot--given that the thousands of employees there vie aggressively for one of the 200 legal spots in the entire place.
And this, in a country with more cars per capita than any other country on earth.
But, it turns out that in my shopping mall, the contractors signed on to build a parking structure for 1000 cars. Unfortunately for them, they won the contract under one administration and now were being dogged by a new one to adhere to it. With pure chutzpah, they simply built the building without parking. Obviously, thinking they’ll get more money from retailers than drivers.
As what usually happens in Italy, they’ll probably end up paying the fine and the problem (for us residents / opportunity in retail sales for them) will remain unresolved. After all, the building’s already up. They can’t very well start digging in now! Or, they won’t. They might wait it out until a new government gives them an amnesty, leaving us with the eyesore for years to come. (Although which is worse: the uncompleted mall or the completed one, I do not know).