2 December 2016 – Expansión
After the fever of Eurovegas in Madrid, the fiasco of the Gran Scala macro-complex in the Los Monegros desert, the mirage of El Reino de Don Quijote in Ciudad Real, another mega leisure complex project is now being planned for Spain, in the form of Live! Resorts Madrid. The proposal has been presented by the US property developer Cordish Companies, and according to comments made by the group’s representatives yesterday, it is backed by the group’s extensive 100-year history and the rigourousness of its modus operandi. “This is a completely private initiative. We are not asking for any subsidies or regulatory changes. The regulatory framework is perfectly adequate for the project”, said Joseph Weinberg, one of the group’s partners.
Cordish plans to invest €2,200 million initially to launch this leisure and entertainment giant, although the total spend may exceed €3,000 million in subsequent phases if the plans are extended beyond the original project. According to the property developer, this initiative would create 56,433 new jobs.
The family group, founded by Louis Cordish in 1910, has four generations under its belt. It has chosen the Madrilenian municipality of Torres de Alameda, in the Corredor de Henares, as the stage for the development of the “largest integrated entertainment centre in Europe”. “We think that Madrid is the ideal location in Europe for the complex”.
To this end, Cordish has purchased a plot of land measuring 134 hectares and has registered information about the project with the Ministry of Economy, Employment and Finance. It is waiting for the Community of Madrid to study the feasibility of the plans and to open a public competition inviting other investors to submit their proposals. This process, which may take around six months, needs to happen before the first phases of the project can start, which are expected to take between “18 and 24 months”.
Weinberg wanted to differentiate his Live! Resorts from the frustrated initiative of the magnate Sheldon Adelson, who also planned to build a Eurovegas in Madrid, and he emphasised the “family nature” of the proposal. “The gambling area will only account for between 5% and 10% of the project”.
Weinberg said that the plan includes more than 100,000 m2 of space allocated to shops and leisure; four and five-star hotels, with 2,700 rooms; 275,000 m2 of space for three conference centres; and 45,000 m2 of space for offices.
Weinberg said that the group has own funds as well as experience raising financing. In addition, he appeared open to the idea of forming a joint venture with large local and international hotel chains for the management of the hotels.
The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, acknowledged yesterday that the regional government has held “some conversations” with the company and added that it is a “solvent, trustworthy and powerful group”.
According to Cifuentes, this project does not bear “any resemblance” to Eurovegas and she highlighted that, in contrast to Adelson’s project, Cordish has already officially registered the proposal and is not demanding any regulatory changes. She also said that whilst Eurovegas involved the construction of casinos, 80% of this proposal is dedicated to leisure and “only a small portion” to gambling.
Nevertheless, the Chairman of the Community of Madrid appeared “cautious” and warned that the initiative will be analysed “with the greatest care”. (…).
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake