Catalan Generalitat to Acquire Land in Tarragona

29 June 2019

The Regional Ministry announced that it would exercise its preemptive right to acquire the land where BCN World had been planned for construction. The Catalan government expecteds to pay more than 100 million euros to La Caixa for the property.

Investors have planned a series of different projects for the site, beginning with the Eurovegas megacasino and followed by and the Valencian company Veremonte’s BCN World.  The latest plans are for the Hard Rock Entertainment World (HREW). Construction on the €2-billion project had been slated for this month.

The investors behind the initiative, including the Generalitat, Value Retail, which owns La Roca Village) and the Benetton family had been complaining about their failure to receive the necessary permits to begin work on the project. However, reports have stated that the government firm Incasòl will acquire the land and transfer it to HREW.

Original Story: Crónica Global

Criteria Raises the Price of the Plots for Hard Rock Café Complex in Tarragona

8 October 2018 – El Confidencial

Criteria, the holding company of the investment companies owned by La Caixa, has increased the price of the plots on which Hard Rock Café Entertainment World is set to be built. The new leisure and casino complex is due to be constructed in Tarragona, next to Port Aventura. That is according to explanations provided by sources in the real estate sector to justify the delay in the project, formerly BCN World, which constitutes the largest foreign investment pending in Cataluña and which will involve the disbursement of €2 billion in total.

Criteria had closed an option to sell the land worth €110 million. But that was in December 2014. Now that Hard Rock Café, a multinational from the United States of America specialising in hotel and restaurant complexes linked to casinos, wants to exercise the option, Criteria is claiming that the real estate market has recovered in the last four years and so the price needs to be updated.

Sources at Criteria declined to comment but other sources in the real estate sector explained that a new due diligence process is being carried out to determine the magnitude of the price increase. The new price is expected to amount to around €140 million, a claim that has been rejected wholeheartedly by the Hard Rock Café, which alleges, and rightly so, that the delays incurred by the project (…) which now amount to more than three years, cannot be attributed to the company.

According to the original plan, the project should have been ready by 2015. But, partly due to the withdrawal of investments, and partly due to the political instability in Cataluña, the complex has suffered various delays.

Hard Rock Café is the only company that survived the bidding process for the gambling licences and is now the main party responsible for developing the complex. The forecast investment in Tarragona amounts to €2 billion for the construction of Hard Rock Entertainment World, which will have two hotels and 1,100 rooms, a shopping area with 75 shops – which will be operated by the British giant Value Retail, owner of Las Rozas and La Roca – and a 10,000 m2 casino. The project is expected to create more than 11,000 jobs and will be carried out in phases: the first amounting to €600 million.

When the initial investor withdrew, which was led by the businessman Enrique Bañuelos, La Generalitat subrogated the option to purchase the land, as a way of ensuring the continuity of the project. But that operation is neutral. La Generalitat would only perform a transfer and the final investor would have to pay the price of the plots. The Administration does not want to assume the surcharge that the new valuation would now result in.

Different positions

Each party defends its position. For Hard Rock Café, it cannot make its company or the other investors responsible for the delays incurred and therefore, does not want to assume the additional cost.

Meanwhile, Criteria has renewed the sale option, which had a term of 18 months, on up to four occasions to ensure that the investment would not go to waste, and considers that its efforts should also be rewarded.

An agreement must be reached between the parties soon (…). This project is key for Cataluña and will only serve to turn around the foreign investment figures that have been negative for the Catalan Administration since the independence process entered its critical phase.

Licence in May

In May 2018, Hard Rock Café obtained the licence for the project, which includes the gambling licence for the casino, granted by La Generalitat. That administrative permit arrived a year late due to the political instability in Cataluña. Now, Hard Rock Café, which is owned by a tribe of Seminole Indians (Florida) has three years to submit its plans. La Generalitat expects the building work to begin in 2019. The negotiations with Criteria could mean more delays if the positions fester, warn sources in the real estate sector.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos Lamelas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hard Rock Is Commissioned To Construct BCN World

5 July 2017 – Eje Prime

After years of toing and froing, BCN World has a new owner. In the end, the macro-complex is going to be constructed by the US group Hard Rock, which was the only firm to submit a firm offer and which has contributed €3 million as a guarantee to advance with the project, as the company explained in a statement.

Last Friday was the deadline for the submission of the designs to construct a recreation and tourist macro-complex, however, international candidates Genting Group and Melco Crown withdrew from the process before that date. The latter was going to be Hard Rock’s partner in the project.

The next key date is 10 July, when the details of the project will be revealed. Specifically, the architectural proposal and the economic feasibility studies. Then there will be a 45-day period for the award to be made public, although we already know that only one bid has been submitted.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

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