Destination Murcia - Paramount Park Update

by Tina Tait

Although there has been a slight delay at the notary in the signing for the purchase of the land to build Paramount Park, PREMURSA, the promotional company which is purchasing the land and in charge of construction, continues to be optimistic. PREMURSA has been granted exclusive licensing rights to construct and operate the theme park for a 30 year extendible period. 1.8 million square metres of land is being sold at the cost of 15.8 million euros.

The actual Theme Park will be 774,777m² and the rest of the land, approximately 1.03 million m², is allocated for the 'Lifestyle Centre' featuring 7 hotels, several restaurants, bars, nightclubs, a business district, an auditorium and convention centre.

The original signing date, of 6th February, was rescheduled to 7th March. Apparently, the delay of the purchase was due to the seller missing documentation at the time of signing. Delays of this nature are quite normal in Spain and was, to some degree, expected, although there was much speculation that there were bigger problems prior to the announcement of the rescheduling. Jesus Samper, head of the project, stated, "The first brick of Paramount will be laid no later than April or May 2012 and the park will open along with the 'Lifestyle Centre' in Easter 2015." The Townhall of Alhama de Murcia is continuing to process the licensing permits for the park. Officials are waiting for an environmental impact report before finalising, but the Townhall does not anticipate any further setbacks. Once the notary sale is completed, Paramount Park will be moving ahead from the 'draft phase' into the 'detail phase' of the project.

Jesus Samper, president of PREMURSA and owner of Real Murcia Football Team, and Santa Monica Financial (which is providing the capital for the project), recently travelled to Hollywood, California, to hold meetings with Paramount executives overseeing the project in Spain. The meetings were necessary to evaluate its progress and to outline what was dubbed the 'road show' which is planned to be launched in September. A feasibility report, which was concluded to be favourable by Paramount, will be sent internationally to all the major business centres, along with the visual presentation. The feasibility report went into detailed analysis on communication networks, the present and future hotel capacity in the Murcia region, regional tourism development plans and funding, the state of the golf courses, cruise ship docking in Cartagena, and the progress of the new Corvera International Airport and AVE fast train. The 'road show' is the presentation that will hopefully attract the investors needed to further fund the project. Reports indicate that the amount needed to be raised to complete the entire project is about a billion euros, and many still remain sceptical. Chris Mercer, a real estate developer in the area, stated "Some have been sceptical about Murcia's grand plans, understandable given the economic climate, however, the Mayor has reiterated the importance of the project in guaranteeing work to a whole generation of young people growing up in Alhama de Murcia."

Alhama de Murcia is also planning to expand its infrastructure in the community, building new schools, medical institutions, roads, and sports facilities to accommodate the 8400 residential homes that will be situated alongside the theme park. Several other municipalities nearby are already preparing for the influx in tourism and the benefits of Paramount Park being so close by. Mazarrón has upgraded its promenade and marina, and a beach front promenade in Bolnuevo is now under construction. Pliego has begun restoring the castle which rests high above what now is a sleepy little town.

The future economic impact of the project could make up 2% of the Region's gross domestic product (GDP). With the possibility of economic growth, the creation of some 22,600 construction and operational jobs, the area hopes to attract upwards of 3 million tourists each year from around the world. A lot is at stake as the pressure mounts to complete the 'draft phase' and start construction this spring of 2012. One thing is certain, Murcia is changing and the eyes of the world are now watching.

Be sure to read the next issue of the Costa Cálida Chronicle for continued updates.