BCN World casino, hotel and entertainment resort to have 25-storey towers near PortAventura
The Catalan Government presented this week a first draft of the urban plan that is developing for the 800 hectares surrounding PortAventura theme park, in the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona. The $6 billion holiday resort BCN World is supposed to be built in this area, which is now being promoted by the Catalan Executive itself after the private investor Veremonte did not meet the final deadline for buying the land in December. The urban plan foresees towers of 20 to 25 floors and the construction of 500,000 square metres of tourist and residential-use areas between the Las Vegas style casinos and the beach. Veremonte and its partners Melco, Hard Rock, Caesar’s Entertainment, Melià and Value Retail continue to be involved in the project, along with other investors such as Investindusrial (which owns PortAventura), Ferrari (which wants to build its first European theme park there) and Perelada (which owns other casinos and luxury hotels in Catalonia).
Barcelona (ACN). The Catalan Government presented this week a first draft of the urban plan that is developing for the 800 hectares surrounding PortAventura theme park, in the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona. The $6 billion holiday resort BCN World is supposed to be built in this area, which is now being promoted by the Catalan Executive itself after the private investor Veremonte did not meet the final deadline for buying the land in December. The preliminary urban plan foresees towers of 20 to 25 floors and the construction of 1.59 million square metres in the whole area. The project foresees 500,000 square metres of tourist and residential-use areas between the Las Vegas style casinos and the beach, information disclosed this week. Veremonte and two of its partners, Melco and Hard Rock, have already been preselected to build and run 3 mega casinos in the area. In addition, other Veremonte partners such as Caesar’s Entertainment, Melià and Value Retail are also involved in the project, which has also raised the interest of Investindusrial (which owns PortAventura), Ferrari (which wants to build its first European theme park there) and Grup Perelada (which owns other casinos and luxury hotels in Catalonia). Over the past weeks, the Catalan Government has been talking to the different investors in order to gather their views and thoughts on the project. The definitive urban plan should be approved in July, so that the casino licences can be awarded in the months that follow and the construction can start in autumn.
The urban plan’s first draft was made public this week, after the Catalan Government started to lead the project in December. Back then, Veremonte did not purchase the land to build the mega casinos and the rest of the attractions of this holiday resort that was aiming to become the largest in Europe. Besides the 6 Las Vegas-style casinos and hotels (initially 4 will be built at the most), the plan includes shopping areas, restaurants, theatres, conference centres, a stadium, golf courses, technology institutes and a beach club. Furthermore, BCN World would benefit from its neighbour PortAventura, which would continue to expand its business with further hotels, attractions and the construction of Ferrari Land, the first theme park in Europe of the luxury car company.
The Catalan Government is now promoting BCN World
However, the uncertainties surrounding the urban planning and Veremonte’s own funds caused the company to cancel the decision to buy the land before the end of 2014. In order to stop speculation, the Catalan Government reached an agreement with the owner of the land, CaixaBank, to keep the price for at least 150 of the 800 hectares of the entire project. On these plots is where the 6 mega casinos are to be built, although initially a maximum of 4 will be erected, since 4 companies or joint-ventures have been pre-selected to obtain a licence.
Since Veremonte is not the direct promoter of the whole project (although it continues to participate in it), the Catalan Government will not be able to use the name BCN World in the future, as it is owned by the private company chaired by Enrique Bañuelos. However, the Catalan Executive is convinced that alternative names can be found, reaching an agreement with the main companies involved in the project.
25-storey hotels and thousands of residential units
The first draft of the urban plan has disclosed two main doubts: the height of the buildings and whether there would be residential constructions, an aspect that has generated some controversy after the real estate bubble of the last few years. The Catalan Government would allow the construction of one tower per mega-casino of between 20 and 25 floors high (around 80 metres high). However, each company could decide if they prefer a single tower or groups of lower buildings. They will be built in the 150 hectares immediately south and east of PortAventura. This is the priority area on which the Executive is focusing most of its efforts regarding the urban plan.
However, between the beach and the C-31B road that limits the casino area, which is an area of 495 hectares, the Catalan Government is also ready to modify some regulations regarding the construction limits and the use of the land. The previous urban plan foresaw the construction of 386,000 square metres in this area, distributed into some 2,500 housing units. Now, the plan reduces the area exclusively devoted for a residential use to 280,000 metres but it expands the global construction capacity by adding 216,000 metres that can be used for residential or tourist purposes. Therefore, some 500,000 square metres may be devoted to residential purposes. This “flexibility”, as the Government said, should foster the tourist activity of the entire project, as it could allow for further hotels and casinos in the southern part of the project.