The town planning debate which has raged recently over plans for a 30 storey residential block took a new turn when Mayor Ángeles Muñoz announced that they will only go ahead if there is a general consensus - which at the moment is not looking likely.

Puerto Banús, MarbellaThe final decision will not be taken by the council, but by a board, the ‘Consejo Social de la Ciudad’ with members drawn from local and social organisations, professional bodies and other groups. This board, which is an entity which can be set up in large towns, does not yet exist in Marbella but will be constituted in January.

The mayor emphasized that legally, it is the Town Hall’s prerogative to take the decision, but it will abide by the recommendation of the board.

The modification to the Urban Plan to allow tower blocks to be built in five areas of the municipality of Marbella, at up to 150 metres above sea level received initial approval at the last council meeting.
...continue reading "There Will Be No Skyscrapers in Marbella Without Consensus"

Since Marbella Town Hall approved modifications to local planning restrictions to allow the construction of skyscrapers in the municipality, so far only one project has been put forward. 4476854_1121096_foto_890638The plans envisage a 30-storey residential block reaching 115 metres above sea level on the Istán road. The high rise block would be designed by Catalán architect Ricardo Bofill, thanks to negotiations with the developers that are in their final stages.

While several investment groups from Spain and further afield have shown an interest, this is the only definite project that has reached the local planning offices.

The site for the block would be near the Istán road, just over a kilometre from the coast, and not far from the Olivia Valere night club, Les Roches hotel management school and Manolo Santana’s tennis club. The project is for a solely residential building with a maximum of four luxury flats per floor.
...continue reading "The Construction of a Skyscraper in Marbella, Malaga (Costa del Sol)"

In the crisis years the construction and development industry practically disappeared in the province, where at one point it had employed as many as 100,000 people. Property sales, however, have started to show signs of recovery in 2013 thanks to foreign demand and a continual drop in prices. Violeta Aragón, of the Association of Builders and Developers, admits that the market improvement is greater than expected especially as they “had thought that things would get worse with the increase in IVA (value added tax) and the end of the tax rebate.

house in MálagaTraditionally foreign buyers have been regular tourists who end up buying a holiday home, but now there are new clients who don’t answer to that profile. This is the case of the Russians “who are not all buying villas worth a million euros,” Aragón is quick to point out.

“It’s true that there is a segment with very, very high spending power, but the truth is that many are small investors who are spending 200,000 to 250,000 euros because what they want is for their children to have an education in a European country.”

For 2014, she estimates that apart from the cases of people building their own homes, which now contribute in a modest way to the slight recovery in numbers of construction projects approved, “we will also see the start of new projects, but that depends on firms and households getting access to credit and on public investment.”
...continue reading "House Sales Surpass Expectations in Málaga Province"

In May 2012, when Benidorm government officials climbed up the InTempo - the European Union's tallest residential building still under construction - for a photo op, they had an idea. The twin towers joined at the top by a cone were to become a symbol of the post-crisis takeoff of the Spanish city of skyscrapers par excellence.

BenidormBut in late December, with 94 percent of the building completed and 35 percent of units sold, Spain's bad bank, Sareb, announced that it was taking on the loan that a savings bank had extended to the developer eight years ago.

By that time, a construction firm, Olga Urbana, pompously advertised what was going to be "an unquestionable banner of the future." The landmark building would rise meters up into the clouds. The now-defunct Caixa Galicia extended a 92-million euro loan in 2005 - a mortgage that ended up at Nova Caixa Galicia following the merger of Galician savings banks. Now Sareb has assumed the loan for 46 million euros, representing a debt release of 50 percent.

The inauguration was initially scheduled for mid-2009, then pushed back to the summer of 2011. For months, it was evident that no progress was being made at all on the site. But the project's real situation did not emerge until last week, and it is a complex one: although the loan belongs to Sareb, the contract shows that building itself is the property of Olga Urbana, and only a realtor called Maxxima may sell it.
...continue reading "Benidorm’s prized high-rise tower becomes a symbol of incompetence"

Seeking Space, Well-to-Do Londoners Dig Deep

"To compensate for the lack of natural light around his new basement swimming pool, one London homeowner installed an outdoor camera that projects real-time images of the changing sky onto the pool ceiling. To assuage the concerns of swimmers who hate cramped spaces, another resident dug down so far beneath the earth that his pool is 16 feet deep and has a high-diving board.

Britain is not immune from the housing slump, and London is still reeling from last month’s riots. But never mind. In a city that has some of the richest people and most expensive real estate in the world, well-off homeowners who have exhausted the traditional methods of home expansion — build up, or build out — are enthusiastically branching out the only other way possible: down."