If the original plans announced in September 2012 had gone ahead, there would now be hundreds of cranes at the BCN World site, rushing to complete six theme parks with 12,000 hotel rooms, six casinos, plus commercial, convention, and shopping centres for opening this year.
In reality, six years and two regional elections later, no progress has been made at the site of BCN World in Tarragona province (home to the Costa Dorada), which remains unchanged. What has changed is the Government of Catalonia – known as the Generalitat – which now relies on a radical left party for support.
The master urban plan for BCN World, or Plan Director Urbanístic (PDU) as it is known in Catalan, is back on the drawing board with instructions to come up with less ambitious plans to satisfy the hostility of the left-wing ERC and CUP parties towards casinos and property development at the heart of BCN World.
Companies like Hard Rock and Melco have recently expressed an interest in investing as much as €2.5 billion in BCN World once the master plan is approved, but the regional government’s option to buy the land from the Spanish banking giant CaixaBank expires in June, so critical decisions must be taken soon.
However, the President of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont recently floated the idea of a local referendum to decide the fate of BCN World, which his Vice President Oriol Junqueras said should be put to the whole of Catalonia. With so much uncertainty and political disagreement surrounding a scheme that will create jobs in a country with nothing to boast about on the employment front, it’s difficult to see serious investors sticking around much longer.
Government officials have also stopped referring to the project as BCN World, reports the daily paper La Vanguardia.