16 October 2017 – El Confidencial
Clear path ahead. The Qatari owners behind the hotel-skyscraper in the Puerto de Málaga, also known as Torre del Puerto, had feared that the environmental impact statement of the hotel complex land would not be shortened (to four months) and would be extended to take 18 months. But, in the end, the Qataris have got their own way. The Junta has accelerated the processing of the paperwork to allow the project to go ahead. The tower will be 135m tall and the project will cost at least €100 million.
Pleas from Málaga’s College of Architects and the Ecologists in Action group against the height (of the tower) have fallen on deaf ears. A delegation from the Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Organisation is driving the abbreviated environmental procedure for the Dique de Levante platform, where the Torre del Puerto de Málaga is going to be built. In its definitive report, it concludes that the modification to the special plan for the Puerto for the construction “does not have any effect on the environment”.
“This is good news. It was one of the possibilities that was being considered and we were defending it, but we will need to process the paperwork for the environment and the tower”, explained José Seguí, author of the project, in declarations to El Confidencial. Seguí admitted that a non-simplified environmental impact statement “would have muddied the waters”, although in the event of an extended version “we would have tried to process as quickly as possible”.
In addition to the environmental impact statement and the possibility of including a casino, which is still up in the air, the Special Plan for the port now needs to be changed to modify the use as a public space. The Port Authority of Málaga, chaired by Paulino Plata, former Minister for Agriculture, Culture and Tourism at the Junta (…) defends the application of the reduced environmental procedure, which will have to be resolved before the end of the year. In a visit to Málaga, the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna, announced that the Government would approve the tower. The Council of Ministers is the body responsible for definitively authorising the project.
In the midst of this process, Abdullah al Darwish, from the company Andalusian Hospitality II (on behalf of the Al Bidda group, which is behind the project), made his intentions clear in an interview with ‘El Sur’ newspaper: “We cannot wait forever, the time has come to take decisions. We have to move forward. For us, it would be perfect if everything could be ready within one year”.
Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Rivera)
Translation: Carmel Drake