$6 billion mega-resort theme park to be built in Catalonia instead of Sheldon Adelson’s Eurovegas

‘Barcelona World’, located next to Salou’s beaches and PortaAventura, will have 6 new theme parks, as well as 12,000 hotel rooms, casinos, convention centres, golf courses and other amusement facilities. 10 million people are expected to visit the mega-resort funded by Veremonte each year, which will create 40,000 jobs. ‘Barcelona World’, located next to Tarragona in the Costa Daurada, will be Europe’s largest amusement resort and among the world’s largest, targeting family and business tourism. Construction may be complete by late 2016. The project has been announced after the expiration of the offer made to Las Vegas Sands to build its casinos next to Barcelona. This American company has not announced if it will finally build ‘Eurovegas’ in Madrid yet, but the Barcelona option seems to be ruled out.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

September 7, 2012 11:39 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Catalonia will host the largest family amusement resort in Europe: ‘Barcelona World’. The $6 billion project (€ 4.7 billion) will be developed by Enrique Bañuelos’ Veremonte on La Caixa’s land next to PortAventura, in the Costa Daurada. ‘Barcelona World’ will attract 10 million visitors, targeting family and business tourism, according to the promoters. The Catalan Government stated it is a completely different project than Sheldon Adelson’s ‘Eurovegas’, which may end up being built in Madrid. ‘Barcelona World’ should open its doors by late 2016, directly employing 20,000 people and creating 20,000 additional jobs. The project consists of 6 new amusement parks, each themed around a country or continent: Russia, India, Brazil, China, US, and Europe. They will host 12,000 hotel rooms, convention centres, shops, casinos, golf courses, and other amusement facilities, located in the heart of Costa Daurada beach area, at the Mediterranean Sea shore. The initiative was presented this Friday morning at the Catalan Government’s Palace, after months of secret negotiations. The Spanish businessman, Enrique Bañuelos –considered by Forbes in 2007 as the 95th richest person in the world- will bring the funds through his company Veremonte and other partners. ‘Barcelona World’ will occupy 450 hectares of land owned by La Caixa, fully equipped with services and ready for immediate urban development. The final agreement was reached yesterday, once the Catalan Government’s offer to Las Vegas Sands to build ‘Eurovegas’ next to Barcelona Airport had expired. The American company had made the Catalan Government freeze any other large-scale investment related to amusement and gaming, a condition valid until August 31st. However, the deadline expired and, after months of speculation between Madrid and Barcelona, Las Vegas Sands had not made a decision yet and rumours were pointing at Madrid as the final choice. In this new scenario, the Catalan Government closed the deal for ‘Barcelona World’ with Veremonte and La Caixa.

After Las Vegas Sands’ offer expired, the Catalan Government was free to make other deals

After months of speculation over whether Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands would build a mega casino resort in Barcelona or Madrid, it now seems that ‘Eurovegas’ will not be built in Catalonia. However, Las Vegas Sands said this Friday they have not ruled out the possibility just yet, and they have not taken a definitive decision on building the project in Madrid. Despite this statement, in Madrid they are pretty sure Adelson will finally build ‘Eurovegas’ in the Spanish capital. In the presentation of the ‘Barcelona World’ project, the Catalan Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, explained that the Catalan Government had agreed with Las Vegas Sands to wait until August 31st to authorise any other project involving an amusement and gaming resort. However, the agreement’s deadline expired and Sheldon Adelson has not made a decision yet. Therefore, the Catalan Government was free to make a deal with other companies, explained Mas-Colell. According to the Catalan Finance Minister, if Las Vegas Sands Corporation still wants to build ‘Eurovegas’ next to Barcelona Airport, they will have to renegotiate the conditions since the last offer expired last week. Mas-Colell was clear, ‘Eurovegas’ is “incompatible” with ‘Barcelona World’ and the conditions and project specifics would have to be redesigned. However, Veremonte CEO, Xavier Adserà, explained that the casinos of ‘Barcelona World’ would not be the main focus of the project, only an additional amusement activity, among the wide range of activities the mega resort will offer. In fact, ‘Barcelona World’ will mainly target families.

‘Eurovegas’, months of speculations

The Catalan and Madrid Governments had been negotiating a multi-billion dollar investment with Las Vegas Sands to build 12 super casinos Las Vegas style over 800 hectares, which might have created 100,000 jobs. However, in the last 8 months several figures have been disclosed and Las Vegas Sands has not unveiled the exact investment figures of the project, which would be developed in 3 phases. If the initial phase was successful, which would occupy 200 hectares, the rest would follow. Otherwise, the project would never reach the final phase, consisting of 12 super casinos and convention centres, occupying 800 hectares. The negotiations started years ago but since early 2012 the project was released to the press and a dispute between Barcelona and Madrid started to attract the investment. Las Vegas Sands stated they would make a decision in June, then it was delayed until July, and then until September. In the last week, once the secret agreement between the Catalan Government and Las Vegas Sands expired at the end of July, Madrid politicians have been giving hints that ‘Eurovegas’ would finally go to the Spanish capital. However, this Friday, after the announcement of ‘Barcelona World’, Las Vegas Sands was still stating they had not made a final decision yet.

‘Barcelona World’, a family amusement mega resort creating 40,000 jobs and ready in 2016

‘Barcelona World’ does not represent such a colossal investment compared to the final phase of ‘Eurovegas’ but it is a larger investment than the American project’s initial phase. In fact, ‘Barcelona World’ represents a $6 billion (€4.7 billion) investment in 4 years and it would be entirely developed, building 6 new theme parks with additional amusement facilities, casinos, hotels, convention centres and shopping area. Furthermore, the 450 hectares of land are fully equipped, have the legal status for immediate urban development, and are all owned by La Caixa, which has already closed the deal with Veromonte. This means that Enrique Bañuelos’ company can start building the resort as soon all the permits have been approved and the project has been finally designed. The company foresees to start building the resort in about 12 to 18 months. The construction time would last 36 months and therefore ‘Barcelona World’ would be ready to open its doors by late 2016. This means it would open its doors much earlier than a hypothetical ‘Eurovegas’, which would open between 2017 and 2022. Veremonte also emphasised that the 450 hectares of ‘Barcelona World’ are near highways, train stations, Reus airport, and the Costa Daurada beaches. Combined with the 200 hectares of PortAventura and its 4 million visitors per year, the area will become Europe’s largest amusement resort. 10 new million people will be attracted to the area, which should become a leading tourist destination in Europe.