Catalonia: BCN World Still On Track

Despite the departure of main investor Veremonte, the mammoth BCN World project outside Barcelona will go forward, according to the regional government of Catalonia. The Generalitat and La Caixaa have agreed on an 18-month purchase option for the 470-acre plot of land.

Hard Rock, Melco still in?

The BCN World project near Barcelona is still alive.

Last month the regional government of Catalonia and La Caixaa, Spain’s third largest bank, agreed on an 18-month purchase option for the giant leisure complex after principal investor Veremonte backed out of the deal.

The property, currently owned by the Mediterranean Society Beach & Golf Community, is located adjacent to Port Aventura, in Vila-Seca y Salou, Tarragona. It has been valued at about €377 million (US$ 467 million).

Generalitat, the regional authority of Catalonia, opted to salvage the project when London-based Veremonte reconsidered. According to the new agreement, the local government will pay €100 million (US$120 million) for the 470-acre parcel. Councilor for Economy Andreu Mas-Colell emphasized that the purchase option for the private development “has not cost and will never cost a public euro.” After 18 months, if there are no buyers, the option will be cancelled and “there will be no expenses or penalties for anyone,” he added.

The purchase option must be exercised before June 2016.

BCN World has been promoted as the biggest holiday center and tourist destination in Europe and a strong stimulus for the local economy. With a plan for six Las Vegas-style casino resorts, promoters say it has the potential to provide up to 15,000 jobs. According to Aura Real Estate, three other groups have licenses to operate in the complex: Melco Crown Entertainment, Hard Rock International and Grupo Perelada, a Spanish casino operator. Value Retail, Meliá and Caesars are also involved in the project.

Veremonte said it withdrew from the project because Catalonia failed to finish its Town Planning Project on time.

“No matter what the company does, the BCN World will be constructed,” said Mas-Collel, “with or without Veremonte.”