American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s extravagant EuroVegas concept is drawing closer to approval following a recent meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
“We went through the four or five remaining outstanding situations of the deal, and they’ve assured us they are going to get back to us sometime in the next couple of months,” Las Vegas Sands COO Mike Leven told The Times.
“And I must say, and Sheldon said this in Israel, the Spanish government is trying very hard (to move ahead with the project.)”
Designs for the project were unveiled a year ago and the project was approved in February this year when Barcelona lost its bid to Madrid as an area just south of the city called Alcorcon was announced as the new home of EuroVegas.
The project has been consistently challenged since the concept was proposed for its environmental impact, “unsuitable” design for the area and concerns over unwanted gambling activities.
EuroVegas also made headlines this week with rumours that the complex may be exempt from the country’s anti-smoking laws, and it is said government officials are loosening construction height and zoning rules to accommodate the project.
While protesters are calling EuroVegas an “island” for gambling, however, the project is expected to create over 260,000 jobs. This provides at least some positive news, as Spain’s unemployment rates have reached a startling 27 per cent.
EuroVegas will be half the size of the the Las Vegas Strip, taking up three square miles.
The Venetian projects were inspired by a visit to Venice by Adelson, who incorporated gondolas and canals into the casino’s design. Now, New York has inspired EuroVegas.
The design features futuristic high-rise buildings, one that will house over 72 floors, and a public square reminiscent of New York’s Time Square.
The luxury complex will be the largest casino and conference centre in Europe, with Adelson said it “may become the convention centre of the world.” It will feature 12 hotels, six casinos, a convention centre with 2,400 meeting rooms, three golf courses, theatres, shopping malls, bars and restaurants.
Adelson is funding 35 per cent of the multi billion-dollar project, and Spanish banks have been approached to fund the remainder of the project. EuroVegas is expected to take up to 18 years to build, with the first phase of construction slated to begin later this year.
Spain continues to attract potential investors for development opportunities. While Barcelona lost out in its bid for EuroVegas, the city does have another proposal lingering in the form of the $1.5 billion Barcelona Island off the coast of Catalunya Spain.
US developer Mobilona is also banking on Spain’s economic turmoil having proposed a futuristic “Space Hotel” for Barcelona that is designed to bring jobs and tourism and deliver smart technology and green energy to residents.
Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias instantly rejected that project for design reasons, telling Catalan News that he and other city officials “have no intention of turning Barcelona into a spectacle.”
While critics remain concerned over the real economic and cultural value of both EuroVegas and Barcelona Island, both Adelson and Mobilona remain confident their projects will be successful.