The government of Catalonia is moving forward with plans to build “Barcelona World”, a multi-billion-dollar resort complex backed by US leisure group Hard Rock International, website Casino.org reports.
Last week, the Generalitat of Catalonia passed a budget that includes provisions for the project to start construction during the first half of 2023, assuming the project’s masterplan is approved.
The plan envisages a 1,000-room guitar-shaped hotel, a 6,000-sq-m swimming pool, a shopping centre and Hard Rock megacasino with 100 table games. Altogether, Hard Rock expects to invest around $2bn in the scheme.
The resort will be located in a rural area of Catalonia known as the Camp de Tarragona.
The scheme was put forward by Catalonia 10 years ago, and has the backing of the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), but has run into opposition from environmental groups and parties within the government itself.
The opposition PSC made approval of the project a condition for accepting the province’s budget, along with an expansion of El Prat airport and the construction of Barcelona’s fourth ring road.
Last year, Catalonia’s Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda issued a report calling for changes in the masterplan to offer “environmental compensation” and “ecological connectivity”.
And Aturem BCN World, the complex’s main opposition group, last year launched a judicial review of the scheme, which could delay any start by several years. Aturem put forward a long list of objections to the scheme from a commercial, financial and ecological perspective, as well as the lack of public participation in the planning process.