Plaza del Mercado de Ponce

Plaza del Mercado de Ponce (English: Ponce Market Plaza) or, formally, Plaza del Mercado Isabel Segunda (often abbreviated as Plaza del Mercado Isabel II), is a historic marketplace building in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It was inaugurated in 1863 by Ponce Mayor Don Luis de Quixano. Designed by famed engineer Timoteo Luberza,[2] it occupies a city block in the Ponce Historic Zone at the grid formed by Calle Atocha, Estrella, Leon, and Castillo streets.[3] It has room for 65 kiosks.[4] It was originally called Plaza del Capá.[5]

Plaza del Mercado de Ponce
Plaza del Mercado Isabel II in Ponce, PR (IMG 2684).jpg
Plaza del Mercado Isabel Segunda in Ponce, Puerto Rico
General information
Architectural styleNeoclassical, Art Deco
LocationPonce Historic Zone, at the grid formed by Atocha, Estrella, Leon, and Castillo streets.
Town or cityPonce
CountryPuerto Rico
Coordinates18°00′53″N 66°36′48″W / 18.0146381°N 66.6134173°W / 18.0146381; -66.6134173Coordinates: 18°00′53″N 66°36′48″W / 18.0146381°N 66.6134173°W / 18.0146381; -66.6134173
ClientGovernment of the Municipality of Ponce
Technical details
Size5,200 square meters (56,000 sq ft)[1] (1877 measurements)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Timoteo Luberza (1863),
Pedro Mendez (1941, 1989),
Miguel A. Carlos (1992)
EngineerTimoteo Luberza


Plaza del Mercado in 1899
Market before 1903 enlargement

The building was erected from plans by Timoteo Luberza in 1863, who modeled it after Les Halles, the market of Paris in France. At the time it was built, it was the largest and most modern marketplace in Puerto Rico.[6] It has undergone four major additions and/or remodelings since then: in 1903, 1941, 1980–89, and 2006.[2]

1903 EnlargementEdit

In 1903 it was enlarged according to the Neoclassical design of architect Manuel V. Domenech.[7][8] A meat storage was also added.[7] Even by the early 1900s, Plaza del Mercado had enjoyed many years of heavy use and, by 1926, Plaza del Mercado Isabel II was so overcrowded that the city of Ponce built a second plaza, Mercado de las Carnes ("Meat Market"), to relieve the overcrowding at Plaza del Mercado.[9]

1941 EnlargementEdit

In 1941, it was again enlarged per plans by Ponce-born architect Pedro Mendez Mercado.[7][8] During the 1941 remodeling, the original structure, which was not art deco, was enhanced with an art deco facade.[10]

The Juan Bigas buildingEdit

Starting in 1981, and for the next 26 years, Plaza del Mercado shopkeepers operated out of a new building at the grid formed by Calle Guadalupe, Salud, Estrella and Mayor streets, two blocks east of the historic Plaza del Mercado Isabel II. The new building, called the Plaza del Mercado Juan Bigas building, was inaugurated in 1981 to replace the aging, but historic, Plaza del Mercado Isabel II building.[11] It cost $10 million to build. It is the building with the largest footprint in Ponce. Inside of it are some of the ruins of the old Teatro Apolo.[12] (Teatro Apolo was located at the corner of Calle Salud and Calle Guadalupe.[13]) On 28 June 2010, Governor Luis Fortuño signed the Senate Resolution Number 191, transferring ownership of the Plaza del Mercado de Ponce Juan Bigas building to the Ponce Municipal Government.[11] The Juan Bigas building had sat unused since the 1990s when the shopkeepers moved back to the remodeled Isabel II building. On 7 April 2011, the municipal government announced it would invest $10 million to remodel the Juan Bigas building and turn it into a municipal services center, dubbed "Ponce Servicios", hosting various municipal services offices.[14] The remodeling of the old Plaza del Mercado Juan Bigas building to be used for municipal government services will occur at a cost of $6.828 million.[15] A 27 July 2011, news report stated work on the Bigas building would commence in October 2011 at an expected cost of $15 million.[16] A 26 June 2013 news report indicated that renovations had been completed and the first two floor of the facility would reopen by the end of July 2013. The agencies due to occupy the structure are: the Oficina de Permisos (Office of Permits), Ordenación Territorial (Office of Territorial Planning), Vivienda Municipal (Office of Municipal Housing), the Archivo Histórico de Ponce, Office of the Federal Ryan White Program and the Banco Municipal (Municipal Bank). The name of the facility is Ponce Servicios.[17] The facility reopened as "Ponce Servicios" in August 2013.[18]

1980-1989 RemodelingEdit

In 1980, the building was once more remodeled. The 1980 remodeling lasted 9 years - until 1989.[19] Its Art Deco style was further enhanced, after the design of architect Pedro Méndez Mercado. At this point the structure was turned from a fruits-and-vegetables market plaza into a handcrafts shopping plaza.[3][7] Air conditioning was added to Plaza del Mercado Isabel II in 1984 when the Pitusa supermarket moved in.[20]

1992 RemodelingEdit

In 1992 Plaza del Mercado Isabell II was turned into a multi-use building that included parking, businesses, and private office space. This 1992 reconstruction was part of the Ponce en Marcha project. It was designed by architect Miguel A. Carlos and built by Vissepo Construction. In 1993 the design and building project received the Award for Building Excellence of the Puerto Rico Association of General Contractors and the Association of Pre-mixed Concrete Manufacturers.[21]

2006 Restoration to todayEdit

The building was restored once more in 2006 at a cost of $4 million.[20] In August 2007, the Juan Bigas Building shopkeepers moved back to the historic Plaza del Mercado Isabel II building to occupy it once more as a fruit-and-vegetables market place.[11][22]


"The phenomenon of this building, unique in Puerto Rico, is that despite its enlargements, its interior still preserves the original structure. Through its remodelings, its facade has shown several architectural styles, including neoclassical and art deco."[8]


Today Plaza de Mercado is also used as a venue for a variety of festivals and other similar gatherings.[23] However, in October 2010, structural and air conditioning problems were found with the newly rebuilt structure.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Socorro Girón. "Ponce, el teatro La Perla y La Campana de La Almudaina." Gobierno Municipal de Ponce. 1992. p.463. (Citing: Ramón Marín. "La Villa de Ponce considerada en tres distintas épocas: Estudio histórico, descriptivo y estadístico hasta fines del año 1876." [Ponce, Puerto Rico: Establecimiento tipográfico "El Vapor". 1877.] p.42)
  2. ^ a b "Plaza del Mercado".
  3. ^ a b MundoBoricua Archived 15 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine List of Ponce Attractions by the Director. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Archivo".
  5. ^ Las fiestas populares de Ponce. Ramón Marín. Page 24. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  6. ^ Neysa Rodriguez Deynes, et al., Brevario sobre la historia de Ponce y sus principales lugares de interes. 1991. Page 163.
  7. ^ a b c d Neysa Rodriguez Deynes, et al., Brevario sobre la historia de Ponce y sus principales lugares de interes. 1991. Museo de la Historia de Ponce. Secretaria de Arte y Cultura. Government of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Ponce, Puerto Rico. p. 163.
  8. ^ a b c "Municipality of Ponce. Camina por Ponce: Plaza de Mercado Isabell II". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012.
  9. ^ Joaquin Acevedo Cruz, State Architect, and Felix Julian del Campo, State Historian. (PR SHPO). Certified by Mariano G. Coronas Castro, State Historic Preservation Officer, State Historic Preservation Office, San Juan, PR. March 1986. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form – Mercado de las Carnes. United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 3. Listing Reference Number 86003199. 16 November 1986.
  10. ^ "Monumentos Históricos en Puerto".
  11. ^ a b c "Home". La Perla del Sur.
  12. ^ El cine en Ponce: antes y ahora. Marangeli Estrada. El Sur en la piel. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  13. ^ Comments by Carlos Martinez on 01. DSC02680 - Antiguo Teatro Argel en la Calle Victoria esq. Fogos, Barrio Segundo, Ponce, PR. Tito Caraballo. Flickr. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  14. ^ Aprueban Fondos para Ponce Servicios. 7 April 2011. El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  15. ^ Mayita ofrece su mensaje de logros. El Sur a la Vista. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  16. ^ A punto de caramelo obras en Juan Bigas. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 29, Issue 1443. 27 July 2011. Page 10. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  17. ^ A punto la mudanza a Ponce Servicios. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. Las Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  18. ^ Alcaldesa de Ponce Inagura Proyecto Emblematico Ponce Servicios. Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Ronaldo Ortiz Dominicci. Periodico "El Señorial". (A publication of the Ponce Municipal Government.) Issue #10. August 2013. Page 3. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  19. ^ Neysa Rodriguez Deynes, et al., Brevario sobre la historia de Ponce y sus principales lugares de interes. 1991. p. 163.
  20. ^ a b Tras multimillonaria renovación: Afloran fallas en la Plaza de Mercado. Carmen Cila Rodríguez. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. ca. February 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  21. ^ Caminata Guiada Centro Historico de Ponce: Plaza Isabel II. (In Spanish)[dead link] Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  22. ^ "Shoping at la Plaza del Mercado, Ponce Puerto Rico".
  23. ^ Noche embriagadora de aromas y sabor. Gary Gutiérrez. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  24. ^ Tras multimillonaria renovación: Afloran fallas en la Plaza de Mercado. Carmen Cila Rodríguez. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. ca. February 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011.

Further readingEdit

  • La Gran Enciclopedia de Puerto Rico, Vol XIX, "Arquitectura y Leyes", Editorial Rumbo, Madrid. 1976.
  • Acevedo Cruz, Joaquin. Conservacion: Area de la Plaza del Mercado de Ponce. Escuela de Arquitectura U.P.R., 1982 (unpublished).

External linksEdit