THE foundation stone of the Paramount Theme Park planned for Murcia is due to be laid at the end of May or the beginning of June.
This was revealed by the developer, Premusa, following the purchase of two thirds of the land for the Paramount Park and LifeStyle Center leisure complex project, located in Alhama de Murcia.
Premusa President, Jesus Samper, reportedly paid €10.3 million for the more than one million square metres of land, taking the total amount invested so far to €28 million.
The purchase of the remaning 550,000 square metres of land did not go ahead due to not administrative delays relating to the escritura.
Samper said this will not affect “the normal development of the project which is still on the established course.”
Work opportunities to fill positions with the park are expected to be announced soon.
Initial forecasts are that this project will generate a total of 22,600 jobs through direct and indirect employment (16,500 construction and 6,100 for operation).
The complex will include a theme park divided by themes into four areas, and two themed hotels, as well as the LifeStyle Center, a cultural, business and leisure area which will have seven hotels and a recreational area.
The Paramount park and the first phase of LifeStyle Centre are expected to open in the first months of 2015, the company said.
The entire project budget is €1.1 billion, according to Premusa, and more than 3 million visitors are expected annually.
Premusa is currently in the process of securing the additional €130 million necessary from external investors for this project top go ahead, “we’re on it” a source at the company told EWN, as soon as we have all the investors we will let you know.”
Meanwhile, a local Press report revealed Paramount will join the Premusa board to give more weight to this project although it will not invest any money into it.
Murcia Regional Culture Councillor, Pedro Alberto Cruz, said the project was “beyond the point of no return” according to local Spanish daily La Verdad.
Based on projects such as this one, Cruz maintains that “tourism will get us out of the financial crisis, because it has the capacity of generating short-term income.”
Although there is “currently not enough money for all the projects we would like to carry out” he admitted, “we will focus on strategic projects.”
These also include the Portman Bay and Cope Marina development which are “vital for the development of the region” he said.
These will “provide Murcia with the best offer for tourists it has ever had, which will mean there is less competition” he continued.
In 2008, the Murcia Regional Tourism Department had a budget €140 million, which has now been reduced to €43 million.
He said that tourism, farming and the food and agriculture industry are “the pillars on which the financial present and future of the region will be based.”
However, he also said that the construction sector “must recover, but keep to more moderate levels than in the past and attempt to diversify.”
Cruz forecasted that by the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, “we should start to see signs of improvement” in the region’s economy.
He admitted that culture is “not currently the priority” but insisted that “we can’t let the crisis do away with culture, as this is the most important and long-lasting essence people have.”
Regarding the opening of the Murcia Region International Airport, he said that the opening was “imminent” and will be the “best way to improve tourism in the region.”
In the first three years, two million foreign visitors are expected to use the airport.
By Jennifer Leighfield