The €2 billion integrated casino resort project near Barcelona, Spain, Hard Rock Entertainment World has been revived, after the Catalonia authorities granted a 5-month extension to the deadline for the acquisition of the land for the casino resort.
The past few weeks rarely brought good news for US casino operators, as all the land-based gaming facilities are still shut and the timetables for re-opening unclear. For Florida-based Hard Rock International, though, there were positive developments, albeit for a project outside of the US.
Casino Resort Project Approved
In 2017, the Catalan Ministry of Economy and Finance announced it had approved the €2 billion Hard Rock Entertainment World, the casino resort project near Vila-seca and Salou in the Tarragona province, giving Hard Rock International a window of 3 years for groundbreaking of the first phase of the resort, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tarragona.
Since then, the €600+ million first phase that includes the construction of a casino with one of the largest gaming floors in Europe, with 1,200 slots and 100 gaming tables, and a hotel with 1,000 rooms, and leisure and entertainment facilities, has been hitting snags.
The main obstacle turned out to be the acquisition of the land allocated for the project near the PortAventura World entertainment resort. The plan that included state-owned Incasol to acquire the land from its owner, third biggest financial institution in Spain, La Caixa, and then sell it to Hard Rock, hit some legal issues, after former land owners challenged the compensation they received by the time of the land expropriation.
Furthermore, La Caixa and the Florida-based hospitality and casino operator initially could not agree to the price of the land, the financial institution asking for an amount in the region of €120 million, which caused further delays to the casino resort project.
In March, the Generalitat of Catalonia finally approved the purchase of the land by Incasol for €120 million and its subsequent sale for the same price to Hard Rock, the operator pledging in a letter to close the deal until May 5. Hard Rock has recently asked for a 5-month extension to the deadline, however, due to the impact of the ongoing health crisis on its revenue, an extension the Catalonia government has now granted.
Hard Rock Entertainment World
The Hard Rock Entertainment World will be a casino-integrated type resort and will consist of two hotels, the second one will be a family-type 500-room hotel built in collaboration with PortAventura. In partnership with Value Retail Hard Rock will build a luxury tourism shopping centre with more than 75 shops.
The economic effect of the project will also be significant as it is estimated to create more than 10,000 jobs and generate €1.3 billion in economic activities for the region.