PERHAPS the most ambitious real estate deal in Spanish history has been put on the backburner after Madrid rejected new plans to build a mega-hotel and leisure complex.
Powerful American outfit the Cordish Group said it was “completely shocked” by the decision, which came after months of torturous negotiations over a proposed new ‘Integrated Development Centre.’
Cordish claim to have already secured €2.2 billion worth of funding for the project, which would create an estimated 56,000 jobs. Executives say they have met every single one of Madrid’s demands.
The megacomplex was to be built on a huge 134-hectare space, flush with casinos, hotels, shops, ski slope, cinemas, and even an artificial beach the size of five football pitches.
Negotiations were wrought with tension over taxes, development permits, casino regulations, environmental concerns and financing. Cordish CEO Joseph Weinberg says he is still unclear why the deal was suddenly rejected.”
The main hiccup appears to have been over the casinos. The city government insisted that gambling not be the primary attraction, apprehensive about creating a mini Las Vegas.
Cordish drew up a blueprint whereby casinos would only account for 10 per cent of the total space. But a government analysis of the business plan found that casinos would account for more than 60 per cent of the complex’s total income.