18 January 2016 – La Opinión de Murcia
A Chilean group has acquired the five-star Hotel Intercontinental La Torre from Polaris World, the property developer from Balsicas, which filed for liquidation following the suspension of payments that ended with the transfer of the majority of the homes that it had constructed in urbanisations in Murcia to Sareb.
The new owner of the property, considered the jewel in the crown of the company created by Pedro García Meroño and Facundo Armero, is the company Phoenix, which already owns a luxury resort in Marbella called La Quinta. The so-called bad bank is also negotiating sales operations with a Spanish chain, which, if they materialise, may result in the sale of other assets by the property developer.
The Chilean group Phoenix is a business conglomerate backed by family capital, headquartered in Santiago de Chile. It holds investments in the real estate, tourism, renewable energy and finance sectors. One of its most high profile projects is Haciendas Talinay, a megaproject involving real estate and tourism developments located to the north of Santiago, in the IV Region of Chile, covering a surface area of 25,000 hectares, along 23 km of the Pacific Ocean coast.
Besides the Hotel Intercontinental La Torre, the Chilean group has acquired a retail centre containing a number of restaurants.
Polaris had constructed another five star hotel in Torre Pacheco called Intercontinental Mar Menor, which has 64 rooms.
The majority of Polaris’s urbanisations that have golf courses were transferred to the company IRM, which was constituted by the banks that had financed the company’s expansion until the burst of the real estate bubble halted its plans in their tracks….However, most of Polaris’s assets ended up in the hands of Sareb, which is now negotiating other operations. Sareb’s President, Jaime Echegoyen, declared in Murcia last May that he expected to see options to sell homes constructed by the property developer from Balsicas “in a piecemeal fashion”. (…).
The purchase of the Hotel Intercontinental, which has been closed to the public since 2013, is considered as an example of the interest that investor groups and tour operators have in Murcia. It is hoped that the operation will represent a new start for the region, which has endured severe economic hardship in recent years, since the crisis put a stop to the ambitious tourism projects of the boom years (…). CAM and Banco de Valencia both become major creditors of Polaris World, which ended up transferring the hole caused by debts with Polaris, which reportedly amounted to around €900 million, to Bankia.
Meanwhile, legal investigations that are being undertaken, following the collapse of CAM and Bancaja, have identified irregularities in terms of the granting of loans to the company from Balsicas.
Original story: La Opinión de Murcia
Translation: Carmel Drake