Torre Lugano skyscraper in Benidorm – owners take developer to court

Torre Lugano Benidorm

Torre Lugano, Benidorm. Photo credit By Pixelat – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20888904

Owners of flats in the Torre Lúgano – Benidorm’s second highest skyscraper – are taking the promoter to court for 28 million Euros over construction faults in the new building.

A recent article in El Pais reports on the problems experienced by people who bought flats in the Torre Lugano skyscraper – the 2nd highest in Benidorm with 148 metres, 48 floors, and 204 flats (it was marketed as the highest residential building in Spain, but has since been overtaken by the Gran Hotel Bali in Benidorm at 186m).

Furious owners claim the finish is far below spec and multiple construction faults have come to light since the building was delivered in June 2008, a year and a half late. A group of them are taking the developer, builder, architect, and technical architects to court demanding compensation of 28 million Euros.

The owners complain that:

– The building standards are shoddy, and corners were cut.
– The developer cut costs using inferior materials to those promised in the spec. For example, chipboard or cardboard was used in place of wood.
– Thanks to poor construction, the stairs to the offices have been sealed off in danger of collapse.
– The fire alarm never worked properly (towering inferno anyone?). Sometime it goes off up to 50 times a day.
– Construction faults in the foundations cause regular flooding in the garage, often involving waste water (sewage).
– Owners have had to spend 600,000 Euros dealing with these and other problems.

Vicente Villalba, the vice-president of the community of owners, says he feels “swindled”. “I was promised a luxury flat but it has ended up a disaster because almost nothing is up to scratch,” he told El Pais.

As a protest, the majority of owners are reported to have hung a for sale sign outside their flats.

Prices range from €160,000 for small lower floor flats, to €710,000 for the penthouses. The symbolic protest aside, 50 flats, or 25% of the building, are for sale, and that’s before counting those still on offer from the developer.

The owners are also suing the developer for building 5 floors more than urban planning laws permit.

The developer is a JV between Acciona – one of Spain’s biggest developers and constructors – and the Valencian savings bank Bancaja.

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008).

One thought on “Torre Lugano skyscraper in Benidorm – owners take developer to court”

  1. Anthony

    Now, after three years, reading this news about this skyscraper is, as minimum, funny. I’m an owner, In fact, I bought it just a few months ago this news were on the air, on April 2010. At that time I couldn’t imagine what kind of fraud it was going to be. As economist, I asked the president Vicente Vanaclocha for the community’s balance and my request was rejected without any further explanation. It sounded me very odd at first sight, however, after asking the administrator for the same information I became terrified because I got the same answer. Ohh..my God, I couldn’t believe it¡¡ how someone could deny something like this, “there is a law”, I thought, it’s my right¡¡. However, I forgot something important: I was in Spain. After some inquiries, I found out that the president was a relevant neurosurgeon who had taken over the community’s presidency as volunteer and the administrator was his cousin. Even more, the real estate agency was located in L’Alcudia, a small village nearby Valencia city, 100 km from Benidorm. Now, it was stll sounding weird, because we are talking about one of the cities with more Real Estate Agencies in Spain. In addtion, all experts were contracted by the president, what means that no one was able to do something about negotiating their fees. At that time, this man with his team (expert ingeneer, lawyer and administrator) got the majority of the votes by delegation from the rest of owners, who were mostly foreigners and investors.
    I guess at this point of the story you can either guess something or suspect the final. Well, now, after three years, the picture is very different, especially because we have another President who actually defends our interest as owners and he (with our support) stopped all this outrage. I’d like to say that in Spain, there is not top fees for experts, what means they might demand us whatever they want, in fact, their fees are calculated on base a % of the Total demand. (28 million €).
    It was absolutely unbearable for all of us to pay this huge amount monthly. Up to 65% of Total Expenses were due to expert’s fees. Obviously there are many many things more behing this story, this modern gansters gang took over the residential and made it their main source of money…like a huge cow, like a gold mine, in a crisis environment.
    Finally, one could ask oneself if I’m telling the true, ok…the answer is : doesn’t matter. Now, we have an auditory for telling us some of the frightening matters which happened around this brilliant skyscraper (by Adolfo Rodriguez arquitect) and how it got overcome, even more, surpass our little ambitions. Nowadays, if someone wants to come here, can see the reality of that impressive demand and how the building is recovering itself step by step.
    Just point out a little detail: the former president (Vicente Vanaclocha) had his water’s bill apartment paid into our commuty’s bank account since he was president. ok, it was a little mistake nothing more.

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