A local political party’s spokesman has voiced his opposition to a skyscraper hotel project in Málaga, in southern Spain, arguing that the 135 meter (approximately 443 feet) building would transform the city’s image drastically and would overshadow other important buildings there.
Málaga para la Gente (Malaga for the People) spokesman, Eduardo Zorrilla, also bashed the project, which was endorsed by the city council in September last year, for its “unsustainability and visual and environmental impact,” according to G3 Newswire. The privately held Qatar-based Al Bidda Group was given permission to build Suites Malaga Port, the name given to the skyscraper hotel last year, on the jetty that outlines the eastern side of what is one of the oldest continuously-operated ports in the Mediterranean.
The government was urged by the party to undertake “serious and rigorous studies” into the potential impact of the new project on the economy and the environment. The party has also demanded that a “truthful and credible” financial and economic study be carried out by the Port Authority; one in which the public participation is guaranteed, according to the news agency. Other requests by the group include the government’s assurance that only after a “transparent administrative process” and a rigorous investigation into all aspects of the future development assuring that every legal requirement is fulfilled, will the hotel be granted permission; and a greater level of public involvement, including an “in-depth debate,” which would include the consultation of leading hotel and casino experts, as the proposed hotel will affect the skyline of the city for decades into the future.
The current motion could be part of a growing movement against the project in Málaga, which the Al Bidda Group announced in October 2016 would include the addition of a casino. The initial endorsement by the city council was for the skyscraper hotel only. Thousands of signatures have already been gathered by the group from members of the public who have expressed concern over the new hotel’s potential negative effects on the local community.
Mr. Zorrilla said in a strongly-worded statement that Francisco de la Torre, the city’s mayor, and the local Ports Authority, planned to “perpetrate a horrendous skyscraper that would completely transform the image of our city.” In addition, Zorilla also accused local lawmakers of making plans for the new hotel behind “people’s backs” and said that for the project to be implemented legally a number of local government bodies would need to approve the project first, as reported by the news agency.
According to previous reports, the addition of the casino to the Al Bidda Group’s business plan will help to make a more lucrative project and enable a quicker return on its €106m investment in the hotel’s construction. The reported estimated cost of the casino is €3.6m. However, local gaming rules only allow for two casinos per province and currently Málaga, an Autonomous Community of Andalusia, already has a pair of casinos linked to a hotel. Gaming regulations in the region also stipulate that the tender process be completed prior to the granting of casino licenses. The region’s two casinos are the Torrequebrada casino, located in the HB Torrequebrada Class Hotel on the Benalmádena coast and The Casino de Marbella, a casino located within the grounds of the Andalucía Plaza Hotel.
Suites Malaga Port will reportedly have 352 rooms, accommodate parking for 485 vehicles, and feature a casino, spa, luxury shopping center, conference center, and swimming pools. If the project goes according to plan, the new hotel will create an estimated 1,300 construction jobs, with 350 additional jobs when it opens in 2020.