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Spain – Questions over future of mega complex in Vila Seca and Salou

By - 26 June 2019

The local communes of Vila Seca and Salou have registered a request for the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Damià Calvet, to appear in a Parliament committee to explain if the government is making progress with the land for the Hard Rock Entertainment World venue. The request, signed by Deputy David Cid and first reported by Europa Press, asks that the councillor provide an update on “the negotiations being carried out by the Government of the Generalitat and Incasol for the purchase of land.” Public company the Catalan Land Institute (Incasol), owns the land where the resort will be built.

The initiative arises after the activist group opposed to the new leisure zone ‘Aturem BCN World’ and environmentalist group Ecologists of Catalonia (GEPEC) released a statement critical of the project stating that as only Hard Rock has presented a proposal to develop the Tourist and Recreation Complex (CRT) in Vila Seca and Salou and other investors have backed off it puts the future of the complex in doubt. In their opinion Hard Rock has been the only company that has agreed to “stand up for an urban operation of doubtful viability,” it said in a statement.

Aturem BCN World confirmed that it has not ruled out legal measures against the Urban Master Plan (PDU) that green lights the building of the complex due to the negative impact the project could have on the area and the environment. The statement also asked that the public officials who initiated the BCN World initiative reverse their decision, “since it has been shown to be unfeasible and has not aroused the interest they had promised.” The new park, which will take over from BCN World, will be one of the largest leisure complexes in Europe if it goes ahead.

The assembly says that it will continue to fight against the project “by all means” until the Government reverses its decision on the PDU or until the courts annul it. In January 2017 The PDU for the Tourist and Recreation Complex was approved after a six month public consultation period. According to local officials at the time a number of important changes had been made when it came to infrastructure as well as the protection of the environment.

Aturem BCN World and GEPEC also say that they have information that confirms that the Generalitat is finalising the purchase for €120m of the land which currently belongs to Caixa Bank. The assembly says that it has had access to information that proves it, and criticises the Generalitat for preparing to use public money with a “risk of losing value of land in case the investment of Hard Rock is not carried out or made progressively and indefinitely.”

In May 2018 The Government of Catalonia declared via its Official Gazette that it had given Hard Rock Entertainment World permission to build a casino and leisure complex in Vila-Seca and Salou. The casino will be called Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tarragona, España. The Hard Rock Entertainment World complex will include two hotels with over a thousand rooms, a large shopping area, along with entertainment facilities, and the casino. The casino could have as many as 1,200 slot machines and 100 table games making it one of the largest casinos in Europe. The company is reportedly planning to invest as much as €2 billion into the scheme.

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