After having its initial proposal rejected by Madrid officials two months ago, American casino operator The Cordish Companies is reportedly doubling down on its plan to build a $2.2 billion leisure and entertainment complex on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.
According to a report from the Financial Times newspaper, the family-owned firm announced in December its intention to build the Madrid Live! complex complete with hotels, theaters, cinemas and convention centers as well as shopping, restaurant and gaming facilities on 331 acres of land next to the Spanish city’s Madrid-Barajas Airport. The Cordish Companies, which operates facilities across the United States including the Maryland Live! Casino near Baltimore, declared at the time that the envisioned development could create approximately 56,000 jobs and bring in about $4.3 billion for the local economy over its first five years.
However, Madrid’s center-right regional government reportedly voted down the proposal in March because it would have required the city to invest at least $369.9 million in order to upgrade road and railway links so that people could reach the out-of-town complex.
The Financial Times reported that Thursday saw Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies submit a revised proposal for Madrid Live! that included a promise that it would “fully assume the execution of the necessary public infrastructures” such as the provision of private bus shuttles for visitors while also containing “financing letters” from M&T Bank and Credit Suisse that allegedly demonstrated its ability to fully fund the project.
The revised proposal from The Cordish Companies moreover reportedly extolled the leisure elements of Madrid Live!, which would include an artificial lagoon and beach offering free access, while stating that only a maximum of 15% of the entire project is to be devoted to gaming.
“It’s a 15-acre lake, which is perpetually cleaning itself; the water is crystal clear and blue,” David Cordish, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for The Cordish Companies, told the Financial Times. “We are putting in a full beach. It will be Madrid’s beach.”
The Cordish Companies further reportedly proclaimed that its Madrid Live! scheme would be “Europe’s largest offer of resort-style hotels, gastronomy, all kinds of entertainment, shops and events for residents, families, tourists, congresses and conventions” while also proposing the nearby construction of a “World Soccer Hall Of Fame Museum” alongside cinemas, themed discotheques and a center for eSports.
March’s rejection reportedly represented the second high-profile American casino developer to fall foul of Madrid’s regional government after Las Vegas Sands Corporation was forced to drop a $30 billion plan to build a gambling and entertainments complex for the area of 6.5 million people three years ago. This project was to feature an avenue of skyscrapers as well as twelve resorts and six casinos offering some 18,000 slots but reportedly became bogged down in political controversy largely associated with the Las Vegas-based firm’s demand for tax breaks.
“We feel that the Spanish economy is improving year after year and that the Madrid economy in particular is strong and getting stronger,” Joseph Weinberg, Chief Executive Officer for The Cordish Companies told the Financial Times last year. “We are hitting this at the right time.”