Catalonia, La Caixa Rush to Save BCN World As Veremonte Leaves

15/12/2014 – ExpansionPro

Generalitat, the regional authority of Catalonia, decided to save the gaming and entertainment project of BCN World, set to be constructed adjacently to the Port Aventura park in Villa-seca and Salou, Tarragona. Businessman Enrique Bañuelos and his group Veremonte stepped down from their position as the main developers. Now, Catalonia will buy the land which belongs to La Caixa’s holding Criteria.

As the buying deadline for Veremonte passed last week and the group did not pay the pledged 377 million euro amount, a new agreement with the entity was signed. The underlying plots of 190 hectares in total are destined for construction of hotels and casinos inside the BCN World. The local government is going to pay 100 million euros for them, not immediately though. It will dispose of a purchase option to execute within 18 months, i.e. from January 2015 to June 2016.

Four groups obtained licenses to operate in the complex: Chinese Melco, U.S. Hard Rock, Veremonte and Grupo Perelada, a local casino leader. Also, Value Retail, Meliá and Caesars are involved in the project.

Generalitat will seal the deal through public company Incasol, in exchange for a license and the land. It is said that once the complex running, the Catalan authority may earn 300 million euros.

In turn, the entity chaired by Isidro Faine is going to keep the residential part of the BCN World and develop it through its affiliate Mediterranean Beach & Golf. Generalitat would intend 250.000 square meters for the dwelling units and 10.000 sqm for the retail area.

Veremonte justifies its decision to withdraw with the fact that Catalonia failed to finish its Town Planning Project for the BCN World on time, i.e. before the deadline, which was essential for starting the building works.

‘No matter what the company does, the BCN World will be constructed’, said the head of Generalitat, Andreu Mas-Collel. He sees a great potential in the project, given both interest of the casino operators and general good it may do to the Catalan economy. Recently, the project’s managers met up to confirm and rectify their intention to continue in the process.

 

Original story ExpansiónPro (by Sergi Saborit, Jueves 11 diciembre 2014, pp 4)

Translation: AURA REE

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