Marina d’Or: the fragile strategy of the ‘vacation metropolis’ | Economy | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Everything in Marina d’Or was at all times projected in a superlative manner: the largest seawater spa in Europe, an excellent vacation metropolis or a kids’s paradise. Since, at the starting of the eighties, the businessman Jesús Ger started to execute his dream with a three-star resort in the excessive north of the municipality of Oropesa del Mar (Castellón), the initiatives have multiplied disproportionately till reaching the most of a thousand resort beds and greater than 15,000 residences, in addition to journey parks, water parks, enchanted gardens and numerous outlets and eating places (themed or not).

In 2010, confronted with the lengthy disaster that adopted the bursting of the bubble, the group segregated its actions. In 2014, the actual property half introduced suspension of funds with greater than 500 million in debt. The vacationer operation additionally failed to boost its head and in 2020 it was acquired by an American fund, Farallon, for round 200 million. It wasn’t sufficient both. Now the Murcians Grupo Fuertes, proprietor of ElPozo, and the Benidorm resort chain Magic Costa Blanca have purchased it for about half in an operation formally introduced this week and about which they haven’t supplied particulars. Both already share a 50% stake in Magic Natura, a resort situated in the Terra Natura zoo in Benidorm. A businessman from the space who is aware of his efforts assures: “If there is someone capable of refloating that, it is Javier García Cuenca [el consejero delegado de Magic Costa Blanca], because he knows how to give it the family tourism personality that people are looking for.” The similar supply additionally highlights the monetary help of the Fuertes group, which “has a lot of money to invest.” Even so, he admits that it’s nonetheless a problem.

The first measure of the new house owners, who haven’t detailed their plans past confirming the buy, has been to cancel all resort reservations two months sooner than standard. The firm, which has additionally not specified the causes for the choice or the quantity of individuals affected (though it’s speculated exactly that the scarcity of reserves is one of the causes), has introduced that it’ll return the cash. However, it isn’t clear what is going to occur to different bills that vacationers would have incurred akin to transportation, for which client associations consider they’ll search compensation. ‘

“It is the typical megalomaniac project,” describes José García Montalvo, professor at Pompeu Fabra, researcher at the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (IVIE) and creator, amongst others, of the e-book From the actual property chimera to the monetary collapse. “It started at the peak of the real estate bubble, it followed the cyclical evolution of the sector and they made all the mistakes that can be made but in a brutal way,” he summarizes. Not solely principle explains Marina d’Or’s errors on this manner. One of the nice and skilled hoteliers of the Valencian Community condenses the error in a single sentence: “They wanted to create a destination in itself, when the objective was to sell apartments.” Not solely this businessman, who prefers to stay nameless — “we are from the same sector and I am going to criticize the model,” he justifies — calls for that his title not seem if Jesús Ger is talked about. Even those that worth his plans positively, declare to do it from the shadows: “No one gave a damn in that area and he took advantage of the opportunity, he knew how to do it and it worked for him for a while. He is an unrepeatable model,” says one other businessman from the province of Castellón who is aware of effectively the evolution of the macroproject. “Of course I would also like our province to be full of low houses and golf courses, but that is not the tourism we have,” he argues.

Jesús Ger, who has at all times tried to keep away from responding to the media, has been faraway from the administration of the macro complicated for years. In his protection of a venture through which style has repeatedly been denied and the use of a pompous aesthetic has been blamed, he has at all times alleged that his intention was to “socialize luxury” and allow anybody to have entry to an condo. on the seashore.

Until reaching its peak, Marina d’Or managed to get the Oropesa City Council to approve exemptions of 95% in constructing permits and 50% of the IBI in resorts so long as they have been open 11 months a 12 months and have been in cost of upkeep. of gardens and streets. She additionally took councilors, politicians and native press round London, Paris or China, the place she went to current her plans; and he or she managed to get Naomi Campbel to attend the inauguration of the thermal middle. The value per sq. meter in the space reached 2,385 euros and a list was even thought-about when banks and financial savings banks offered countless financing. It was the second when Ger introduced Marina d’Or, a fair bigger macro venture to develop 18 million sq. meters with a theme park and three golf programs, six themed resorts with a complete of 7,500 beds and 35,000 properties.

Interior of the five-star Marina D'Or spa hotel
Interior of the five-star Marina D’Or spa resort

He barely discovered any opposition, past some dissatisfied landowners, an environmental group and Carles Mulet, a councilor from Izquierda Unida (and later from Compromís, which positioned him in the Senate by autonomous designation), from the neighboring city of Cabanes, additionally affected by the initiatives. “We did not like the urban model, nor the way of occupying the only virgin beach that remained, nor how those affected were treated because there were people who reached a good agreement with an interesting price but drowned those who did not want to sell at costs. of urbanization that, in some cases, they are still paying,” he says.

For the former socialist mayor of Oropesa María Jiménez, the arrival and improvement of Marina marked a earlier than and after for a city that, in the nineties, barely had 2,500 inhabitants. “It brought something good. From being a small, touristy town but with almost no offering, we went on to have a large complex,” she explains. However, she additionally highlights how the group has tried, on numerous events, to cover the Oropesa title in its promotions, a truth that’s per the thought of ​​eager to change into a vacation spot in itself.

The holiday town Marina d´Or in 2012.
The vacation city Marina d´Or in 2012.Angel Sanchez

Plans damaged by the disaster

When the 2008 disaster arrived, all the things started to interrupt down. “When the sale of apartments stopped, it was seen that the support of the project disappeared because all the services were, in reality, a cover to sell homes,” says García Montalvo. In view of how the market was going, the group determined to divide the actions into three corporations and depart, on the one hand, the vacationer exploitation (resorts, spas, and restaurant and leisure institutions), on the different the land nonetheless to be exploited and in a 3rd the actual property half. And in 2014 the suspension of funds got here.

“The model of building a city, in the middle of nowhere, based on an offer of services only works sometimes,” says Professor García Montalvo. “They tried Eurovegas and it didn’t work,” he concludes. Now the problem is for the new house owners, who haven’t indicated what investments they’re considering, to revitalize not solely the resort providing however the complete complicated. And thus forestall the ctrip metropolis ended up turning into a ghost city.

Follow all the data Economy y Business in Facebook y Xor in our publication semanal

The Five Day Agenda

The most essential financial quotes of the day, with the keys and context to know their scope.


Subscribe to proceed studying

Read with out limits