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Land to build BCN World's macro-casinos worth €110 million and managed by Catalan Government

The Catalan Government is now managing the sale of the 150 hectares owned by La Caixa on which the BCN World holiday resort should build its 6 macro-casinos. On Thursday the bank and the Catalan Executive signed the agreement, which comes the day after the private investor Veremonte announced it was postponing the land purchase once again. Veremonte had an exclusivity agreement to buy 500 hectares of land before December 10 at midnight for €380 million, but it postponed the purchase because the urban planning details were still unknown. However, the core of BCN World's project, which is the 6 Las Vegas style hotels and casinos as well as a luxury shopping mall, only takes up 150 hectares. The Catalan Government decided to jump in to strengthen the project and guarantee that the main plots will be available for private investors to build the casinos. It will manage the sale for the next 18 months, while the definitive and detailed urban planning for the area should be approved in July 2015. The other hectares will be directly sold by La Caixa.

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11 December 2014 09:37 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Government is now managing the sale of the 150 hectares owned by La Caixa on which the BCN World holiday resort should build its 6 macro-casinos, which are located next to PortaAventura theme park, in the Costa Daurada. On Thursday the bank and the Catalan Executive signed the agreement, which comes the day after the private investor Veremonte announced it was postponing the land purchase once again. Veremonte had an exclusivity agreement to buy 500 hectares of land before December 10 at midnight for €380 million, but it postponed the purchase because the urban planning details were still unknown. The core of BCN World's project, which is the 6 Las Vegas style hotels and casinos as well as a luxury shopping mall, only takes up 150 hectares next to PortAventura and the future Ferrari Land amusement park. The Catalan Government decided to jump in to strengthen the project and guarantee that the main plots will be available for private investors to build the casinos. It will manage the sale for the next 18 months, while the definitive and detailed urban planning for the area should be approved in July 2015. The other hectares will be directly sold by La Caixa, which could be now be used to expand PortAventura theme park or other projects in line with the town planning project.


On Thursday, the Catalan Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, signed an agreement with representatives from La Caixa, whose subsidiary owns the plots of land around PortAventura. However, the Catalan Government will not be managing the sale of the 500 hectares that Veremonte was supposed to buy, which were worth €380 million. It will only manage 150 hectares, worth €110 million. These plots are the core of BCN World's project, the 150 hectares on which the 6 macro-casinos and hotels should be built, distributed around a long shopping avenue that would become an absolute luxury mall.

An agreement for 18 months, while the definitive urban planning will be ready in July 2015

The agreement is for 18 months, after which the Catalan Government will have the option of buying the land itself. The agreement is in fact signed and managed by Incasòl, the Catalan Government's subsidiary that manages public land throughout Catalonia. During the agreement's period, the Catalan Government will manage the access to the land, including the possibility of starting construction work. It will also negotiate the purchase of the land for private investors, which will be a condition set in the second phase of the public tender to build the 6 macro-casinos. The Director General of Incasòl, Damià Calvet, unveiled that the 150 hectares of land are worth €110 million.

The agreement only refers to these 150 hectares, while the rest of the land will be directly managed by La Caixa under the conditions of the urban planning project. The Catalan Parliament already modified in May the legal framework of that geographic area, in order to allow the construction of macro-casinos and associated projects. However, the new urban planning would be definitively ready until July 2015, as Calvet confirmed. A first version should be issued in late January, but the definitive one will be approved six months later. Such information had already been known by Veremonte since last spring. After the first version of the urban planning is known, the Catalan Government will ask the pre-selected companies to start providing their detailed projects, in order to launch the second phase of the tender to grant the definitive activity licenses. Therefore, according to this schedule, construction work could start in some 10 months, in autumn 2015.

"To play in the world's first division" with BCN World

The Catalan Government decided to intervene and manage the land since this private investment project has a great "public interest", since it will boost the economy with new economic activities and the creation of 17,000 jobs through a $6 billion investment. Calvet emphasised that the project will "complement" the current tourist offer, creating a broad resort that will have far more attractions than only casinos, such as luxury shops, restaurants, theatres, convention centres, a stadium, a racing track, a beach club, golf courses, research institutes, etc.

"Integrated resorts are an engine for the tourist industry, moving lots of money at world level", stated Calvet. The tourist industry represents "14% of Catalonia's GDP" and "we want to strengthen this". The Incasòl Director General highlighted that Catalonia has "the conditions to become a hub for business tourism: international connections, internal mobility, the security of a western country [in physical and legal terms] and climate". "An integrated resort would allow us to play in the world's first division, as they only exist in Asia and America, but not in Europe", he concluded.

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  • La Caixa and the Catalan Government sign the agreement on BCN World's land (by J. R. Torné)

  • La Caixa and the Catalan Government sign the agreement on BCN World's land (by J. R. Torné)