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Paramount Murcia theme park
Great news for the Entire region this week with the news that an option to buy has now been signed for the land which has been selected as the site for the new Paramount Studios theme park in Alhama de Murcia bringing the project that little bit closer. It’s a site which covers 1.7 million square metres of land and will cost 15 million €.
It’s understood from La Verdad newspaper that the agreement signed on Monday will be in place until December 2. The option to buy will have a zero cost until then.

Pedro Cruz, the regional councillor for culture and tourism, said when he announced the agreement that the area of land is more than sufficient for the entire project, which would include the Theme park itself and, in addition, a number of themed hotels within the complex.  The theme park in it’s design will be similar to Universal Studios in Florida, rides and entertainment built around the movie theme.

Investors are now expected to flood into the area with the news that Properties on Condado De Alhama –  home of the new Paramount Murcia theme park can still be purchased at up to 50%  off with interest rates at 2%,  and you can still finance homes there with 100% mortgages…but for how long?

Following the announcement of Paramount Murcia coming to Condado De Alhama it is expected that banks will raise the price of remaining properties so if your thnking of buying you may need to join the list of potential buyers and need to be fast to take advantage of this fantastic investment opportunity. In Murcia, last month over 1300 homes were sold in the region, in comparison to 90 homes in average across the other regions in Spain.

Murcia is the new big thing in Spain, it is the area that is described as Spains Best Kept Secret.  And with the theme park virtually certain to now be on the doorstep, it wont be a secret for much longer!!

It’s expected that the theme park would attract an average of 4.5 million visitors a year and work is expected to start within 2 years, with the park set to open by 2016.

Europe's largest Primark coming to Orihuela Costa

MAYOR OF Orihuela Mónica Lorente laid the foundation stone for the new Commercial Centre in La Zenia on Friday.

La Zenia Boulevard will create more than 1,800 jobs directly and more than 3,000 jobs indirectly; a modern centre to attract more that €185 million in investment to the coastal area.

The centre will accommodate 150 shops including Alcampo; Leroy Merlin; Zara; Pull & Bear and C&A and according to the Director General of the developers, Immochan Spain, Europe’s largest Primark; an announcement sure to please retail junkies!

Parking for 5,000 cars will be mainly underground and the centre will also offer a foodcourt, cinema and bowling alley.

The Mayor said: “This is a great opportunity for not only the Orihuela municipality but also the region. The municipality is proud to have been chosen for this new commercial centre, which will see the inclusion of the very best retail companies in Europe.”

The Mayor and the Director of Immochan Spain, Valentín Serrano, along with the Councillor for the Coast, Jose Antonio Aniorte, and other dignitaries, then buried a time capsule containing copies of the day’s English and Spanish newspapers as well as DVDs from the two local British TV companies, loose change and the blueprints of the commercial centre, scheduled to open in November 2012.


Torrevieja sign historic agreement with Microsoft

It’s official; The President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Francisco Camps, and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, yesterday elected Torrevieja to be home of the first World Centre for Innovation in Health Technology. This is a fantastic boost to the status of Valencia’s fifth largest city as all eyes shall now be focused on this new Microsoft initiative to have a research and development team work alongside the Hospital to further advance the FLORENCE system for health centre management and diagnostics, much of which has been developed at the Hospital. Their work had already caught the eye of Bill Gates who named Torrevieja as being top of their field in developing their (Microsoft) technology, worldwide.
For many years Torrevieja may have existed in the shadow of other Costa Blanca cities such as Benidorm, Alicante and Elche but 2010 is gearing up to be a bumper year and one that shall put the city in the limelight for her innovative approach towards Technology, Culture, Education and Sports, to name but a few.
Back in June 2009, Torrevieja’s Mayor, Pedro Hernandez Mateo started an initiative with Pedro Valero, the Councillor for Technology and Foreigners, to build momentum and continue development of the ‘Florence’ project. The city began her bid with a head start over other interested parties and although President Camps also considered Valencia, Alicante, Elche and Benidorm Hospitals as possible options for the centre, Microsoft have always considered Torrevieja to be their number one choice. The Mayor has already ceeded land for the building of Microsoft’s Investigative Centre beside the Hospital and possibly the invitation by the City Council to grant President Camps the honour of being an ‘Adopted Son’ of the city didn’t hurt a bit (although this act had nothing to do with this initiative)!

Part of the decision in choosing Torrevieja was also the city’s proximity to both Alicante’s El Altet and Murcia’s San Javier airports plus the universities of Alicante and Elche. Francisco Camps stressed that for this “ambitious” project Telefonica will participate as a technology partner in the development of communications alongside Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo (CAM) as this is one of the most important media projects in all of the European Union. He stressed that this decision has to do with the “potential” of the Hospital of Torrevieja and expressed his desire that the Centre become a “European reference centre for health.”
Furthermore, Camps and Bill Gates also discussed the possibility of collaboration between the Comunitat and Gates Foundation towards the development of health initiatives in countries where it is needed most. Francisco Camps emphasized “I’ve said that the effort of the Government is on developing cooperation and work in more than 40 countries around the world,” adding that specifically one task, through various foundations and agencies, is that the Government has also been focused on projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, where many of the Gates Foundation’s efforts are also taking place.
Gate’s stated that Microsoft’s decision to work together with the Comunitat was “due to the fact that Valencia now is a leader, not only in Spain but at European level” in computerized Health Technology with more than 40,000 jobs and over 10,000 workstations connected to the Internet. For 2011, all Valencian hospitals will be interconnected so that health professionals will have “better work and management tools… and full integration” of all levels.
This excellent news comes hot on the heals of the takeover of FC Torrevieja and their goal to become a top name in Spanish football, the new Music Conservatory of Superior Standards, the new Sports Complex, which opens next month plus interest from different investors in the Harbour redevelopment project, Hi-rise hotel and convention centre plus the reopening of downtown hotels. Torrevieja may have been looked at as nothing more than a fishing village and city of holiday homes by many for the last number of years, but 2010 is the year that many will look back on say that this year is the one that really put the City of Salt on the world map

Torrevieja’s Calle Caballero de Rodas finally opens for traffic

After a wait of almost nine months, Calle Caballero de Rodas, the main street running in front of Torrevieja’s Inmaculada Church and the Town Hall, is finally open for traffic again.

At a cost of three and a half million euros, this ambitions street rejuvenation program was inspected by Torrevieja’s Mayor, Pedro Hernández Mateo, accompanied by his wife, Councillor for Works and Services, Javier Montoro Gómez, José Antonio Sánchez García and members of the Town Hall on St. Patrick’s Night. The street lights, the ‘Model Torrevieja’, which have been specially created for the city centre, were turned on for the first time and admired by the council, public and business owners.

The program of works has not been without its critics and many business owners have either moved and some have even closed, during the construction period. The overall result is a very pleasing one, with good street lighting, seating, landscaping and wider pedestrian areas beautifying the area from its slightly downtrodden look just past. On the downside, the one area that has been effected most is probably car parking, which has been cut from parking on both sides of the street, with a capacity of over a hundred cars to just twenty or thirty car parking places. On it’s opening day, it was obvious that some drivers seemed to have a problem with the new designated spaces, as they could only fit two cars in a parking area designed for three! There are now plenty of zones for disabled and unloading bays, which are a welcome addition.

Calle Caballero de Rodas and all of the side streets leading off and running through it are now open for business just in time for Semana Santa and the Easter Processions. However, attractive through they are, the additional 38 street lamps and posts to stop cars parking, will make life very difficult for most of the larger floats in the processions to be able to turn safely around corners. There are still a few more landscaping areas to be completed over the next week but this project certainly makes the city centre a much more attractive area for residents and visitors alike, to enjoy.

Ebro Valley water transfer could provide up to half a million jobs

Until the PSOE took over the mantle of power in Spain, the former PP government had proposed to redirect water from the Ebro Valley to the drought-ridden areas of Valencia and Murcia.

The idea was two fold; on the one hand, the area around the Ebro, which has a history of flooding, would have a better water management program put into place while the drought ridden agricultural areas on the coast would have a plentiful supply of water. Those living in the Ebro Valley region did not wish this to happen and in part, in order to pick up some additional votes, Zapatero promised not to divert their water, in return for backing from the region for his coalition government.

Thus, when the PP lost power, one of their early proposals was to put a desalination plant on the coast to supply the region with water. The location; Torrevieja, which was sort of odd in the first instance since the city has one of the best water management schemes on the coast! Millions of euros later, the plant has still not opened but when it is, it shall supply water to mainly Murcia, Alicante and inland towards Oriheula, not to the city of Torrevieja! Meanwhile, each year, the Ebro Valley has continued to flood, receiving little sympathy from farmers in Murcia and Valencia, who make do with whatever little water they can find to grow their crops.

Now a new study by university professors has concluded that if the Ebro transfer had been built and put into service, it would have generated 514,135 jobs directly and indirectly in Valencia, Murcia, Catalonia and the province of Almeria. The report 'Water and employment: The Ebro transfer', directed by Professor of the University of Alicante Joaquín Melgarejo, has been created through an agreement between management and the Foundation CIERVAL ‘Valencia Water and Progress’.

The study, which cost 25,000 euros, will now be transferred to central government and the parliamentary groups for further discussion according to the Regional Minister for the Environment, Juan Cotino.

Ten Million Euros to be spent on upgrading many of Torrevieja’s streets

Sometimes there seems to be no end to the amount of money that is spent on improvements to the city of Torrevieja.

With the main downtown area to be pronounced finished by the start of the Easter Processions, there was more good news regarding planned improvements to the city as this week the mayor of Torrevieja, Pedro Hernandez Mateo, announced that the City Council is to spend upwards of ten million euros on repaving and upgrading roads and pavements throughout the city and in La Mata, covering an area of 582,000 meters.

Already many parts of the city are seeing the benefits of the plan, including the area around the new La Mata Town Hall. For the work scheduling, the city is to be divided into 8 zones, sorted by proximity and traffic management scheduling: Rocío del Mar y Punta Prima (510 square metres), Las Barcas-Los Altos (35.443 m.), La Mata (29.974 m.) Las Maravillas-Lo Albentosa (8.375 m.), Molino Blanco (2.807 m.) Torreblanca (29.100 m.), Lomas (7.135 m.) and Cabo Cervera (12.863 m.).

The plan also takes into consideration the resurfacing of many of the city’s roads, replacing damaged asphalt, filling potholes and refitting or replacement of all damaged or ill-fitting manhole covers, which shall now be made flush with the road surface. The areas that work will commence on are:
-Zona 1. Urbanizaciones Lago Jardín I, Lago Jardín II, Lago Sol y Los Balcones.
-Zona 4. Urbanizaciones La Hoya, S-11A, S-11B, San José (sector 10), Polígono Casagrande y S-12.
-Zona 6. Urbanizaciones Punta la Víbora, Torreta Florida, Torreta I, Torreta II, Torreta III, El Limonar, La Loma y Enclave 13.
-Zona 9. Casco Urbano Zona 2 PGOU, Urbanizaciones Becisa-Los Ángeles y Calas Blancas.
-Zona Centro. Casco Urbano 1 PGOU.

This campaign of road works throughout the municipality is part of Plan Confianza de la Generalitat Valenciana and accounts for an investment of more than 2,500,000 euros.
In addition, Hernandez Mateo announced that work would begin on the entire redevelopment of Nueva Torrevieja, including replacement of asphalt, sidewalks, curbs and new lights, is also included, amounting to an investment of almost 2 million.

For those wondering what is going to be happening with the upheaval around the desalination plant, ACUAMED, the state company that is building it, will be investing more than six-million euros to restore the area around Barrio de San Roque, to include renewing all asphalt, sidewalks, curbs and lighting. In total, more than 10 million euros is to be spent over the next few months to change the face of many of the city streets and urbanizations for the better, which will improve the image of many areas of Torrevieja.

Torrevieja’s Skyscrapers given their first green light

For the last three months, a group of overseas investment companies have been lobbying Torrevieja’s Town Hall for more information about the proposed building sites for luxury Hi-Rise 4 & 5-star hotels within the city.

Back in September 2008, just as the recession kicked in, the proposal for this scheme first came to light but with Spanish Banks reluctant to lend funding for any development projects, it’s been up to innovative and speculative foreign investors, who have a vision of a bright future for Torrevieja, to pique the interest of the Town Council once again.

It may have taken three months of research, questions and prodding to receive a positive reaction from the town hall but in the space of just 48-hours, the news of possible skyscrapers along the Torrevieja Coast Line made front-page news and featured on the major Spanish TV and Radio news channels. I asked one of their development management team about their interest in Torrevieja over other locations in Spain. In essence, the attraction of Torrevieja is because of her forward thinking council, stability and aggressive investment program along with the multicultural nature of the city.

In the last three years alone, over one hundred and fifty million euros has been invested in Torrevieja. Recently the city has benefited from a new Hospital, Health Centres, the just announced Microsoft Research Centre, new Sports facilities, new management team at FC Torrevieja, Theatres, Multi-Level parking, pedestrian areas and beautification of the downtown area, work continuing on the Eras de la Sal, Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance, La Mata Town Hall, parks and gardens, new transport infrastructure and just this week, they announced another ten-million to be spent on upgrading and renewing the majority of road surfaces around the city! Further investment is also evident in the Desalination Plant and the ambitious 130-million euro Harbour plan. It’s no wonder that the outside world is sitting up and noticing the City of Salt.

The missing link in Torrevieja and her status on the Costa Blanca, has always been one of a lack of quality hotels. With less than 2,000 beds available in the city and only a couple of three or four star establishments, Torrevieja is in need of quality facilities, especially if hoping to attract the global conference trade, for the multitude of quality cultural events (such as the Habaneras festival) plus with a new management force at FC Torrevieja and the city’s own excellent sporting facilities, the future is also rosy for the development of major sports games and tournaments, not thought possible until now.

As expected, the opposition parties objected to the proposal but the motion passed and the Town Council shall now push forward their plan for validation by the Generalitat Valenciana. Torrevieja is now seeking permission to build up to thirty (30), twenty (20) storey Hotels, in any of the six designated areas on the first line to the beach. Other areas away from the first line have also been identified. The areas sited for possible development are Campico San Mamés between the Acequión beach and the International Marina, Playa de los Náufragos, Curva del Palangre, next to the Los Locos beach and Las Lomas in La Mata.

Since 1987, and with very few exceptions, developers in Torrevieja have only been granted permission for townhouses or buildings of five storeys with attics. For over a decade the City Council has sought permission to build vertically, in part to break up the horizon and afford more visitors a view of the Mediterranean! On Tuesday, Mayor Pedro Hernandez Mateo was limited in the council meeting to only reading the proposal on the agenda, without addressing the merits of such a project. Back in September 2008, the mayor was much more animated in his approach and picked up two cartons to graphically illustrate the difference between horizontal construction - occupying more land and the Vertical approach, such as is most popular in Benidorm, which makes better use of the available ground area and only partially obscures the panoramic sea view.

Even if such a proposal is greeted with open arms and passed by provincial government, with basic build costs starting at around forty million euros, such projects shall not be flying upwards in the very near future.

This week, a development team met with the Mayor and Graham Knight from the Foreign Residents Office to look over the proposed sites; the first small steps in the process. It might only take two years to actually construct a Hotel, once authorization to build a twenty-storey facility offering three-hundred to five-hundred or more suites is given but, the developers still have to achieve good occupancy figures to make it all worthwhile. For most residents and casual onlookers, the prospect of a luxury hotel in Torrevieja will be seen as good news. After waiting for more than ten years on a decision, let’s hope that it’s sooner rather than later, for that elusive Green Light!

Paramount Pictures may build a new Theme Park in Murcia

If all goes ahead, the complex shall be in direct competition to Disneyland in Paris, although with much better weather.

While Benidorm’s Terra Mitica continues to struggle to claw back its enormous debt, much brighter news was announced this week in the world of Theme Parks as Paramount Pictures are looking to build Spain’s largest theme Park in the region of Murcia. The Park division of the filmmaker previously operated Terra Mitica and so this move comes as something of a surprise since they were unable to make a success of the park in Benidorm but they would have complete control over this project unlike the restraints they had to contend with in Benidorm.

The twist is that along with being an amusement park, that Paramount would also be building their own film studios in Murcia and using this as their centre of European production, according to Murcian Councillor for Culture, Pedro Alberto Cruz. Cruz has just returned from a trip to Dubai and stated that Michael Bartok, Paramount’s Executive President shall be carrying out an economic viability study in the first instance, before committing to any construction.

If all goes ahead, the complex shall be in direct competition to Disneyland in Paris, although with much better weather. The complex is designed around a 2.5km² zone with 15,000 hotel beds, aiming to attract three million tourists and creating 20,000 jobs, which would be a huge boost to the hospitality industry in Spain. If it proves to be viable, the build time is estimated to be about 24-months, which shall also come as fantastic news to the ailing Spanish construction industry too.

Torrevieja announces new International Harbour Project

Torrevieja is on track to become one of the premier yachting centres in the Mediterranean.

According to rejuvenation plans announced this week, Torrevieja is on track to become one of the premier yachting centres in the Mediterranean. Torrevieja’s Mayor, Pedro Hernandez Mateo, along with councillors and representatives from Marina International and Real Club Nautico showed plans and models to members of the press and announced that the city already has plans to host the first ‘Pascual Flores Regatta’, named after the newly renovated Tall Ship that was built on Torrevieja’s beaches.

The new project shall open up the entire Torrevieja seafront, adding more yachting berths, relaxation and walking areas, protecting the sandy beach area and offering more attractions, much in line with the rejuvenation schemes that have taken place in Cartagena and Alicante. Real Club Nautico and Marina International shall be working closer together than they have ever done so in the past to promote the sporting aspects of the yachting centre plus social memberships to the Clubs to attract more visitors to the area.

The presidents of Club Nautico and Marina International declared that with the backing of the Town Council, Valencian Government and support of both yachting centres, that this spectacular project will completely change the city’s bay area. One and all hope that this future renaissance project will soon become a reality.

High speed train project on target

THE AVE high speed train link between Alicante and Madrid will be finish by 2012.

This was the assurance given by the president of the company behind the building of the AVE high speed train line between Madrid and Alicante, Antonio González Marín, during a visit to the work site in Monforte del Cid this week.

He said the link would be finished by 2012 but he could not put a date to when the overland access line would be built into the city itself.

Sr Marín added that the project has already been costed at 70 million euros and would take 12 months to complete once it got underway but to date it is being held up at government level.

He went on to say the 2012 completion date is a reality not a promise.

Sr Marín also spoke about the stretch of the line that will go to Monforte, which will convert the zone into a hub from which the AVE from Madrid will divert to Alicante and Murcia.THE PROPOSED project to build a branch line of the AVE high speed train from Madrid to Alicante that will serve the Marinas Alta and Baja will, if approved and built, make the journey time from Benidorm to Alicante just 36 minutes.

Road improvements announced

Regional government to invest more than 73 million euros along the Costa

By Tom Cain
THE REGIONAL public works council has set aside 73.3 million euros to be used to improve the road network in Alicante Province over the next four years.

The money will be spent on 10 projects that will provide greater safety and security.

A public works spokesman said the projects involve the substituting of busy cross roads for roundabouts, the resurfacing of roads, improved signage and building of new roads.

All of the projects fall within regional government's road network conservation programme which has a pot of just over 216 million euros.

The aim of the programme is to keep all of the region's roads in good condition.

Some of the projects, such as the connection between the Orihuela bypass and the A-7 and the resurfacing of the CV-855 between Elche and Dolores are already underway.

This project includes an upgrade of the road between kilometres 10 and 17 and the repainting of all road markings along its entire length as well as new road signs

Pga La Finca golf
La Finca golf course offers 18 holes + 1, each one designed by the prestigious Spanish designer Pepe Gancedo. It is a course with generous fairways and spectacular greens because of its design and variety of contours.

Among the most interesting aspects of this course are:

The green on the 7th hole, completely squared and surrounded by a spectacular bunker
The 5th and 6th holes, next to a beautiful lake with several waterfalls on their left side. This lake provides these holes not only with a water hazard, but also an added beauty that complements this already gorgeous course.
La Finca Golf has hosted during its young trajectory important Championships at The Amateur Level:

The Audi Class Tour Finals in 2002 and 2003
The Audi Tour in 2004, 2005 and 2006
The Costa Blanca Golf Cup Final in 2005
The Spain Jr. Male International Championship in 2005, with player participation from all over Europe
The Mercedes Cup Tour in 2006
The Spain Architects Tournament in 2003 and 2004
The Group Soledad Tour Championships in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006
At the Professional Level, La Finca hosted:

Challenge Tour Championship,
Qualifying School Championship
And several Pro-Amateurs
La Finca golf works to help organize important top level Professional Tournaments