The foundation stone laying ceremony for the new Paramount Theme Park in Murcia, Spain, heralds the start of a construction process that is expected to result in a boost for real state in the area. Attended by project officials, local authorities and dignitaries, the formality kick started the countdown to the Park’s official opening in 2015. ‘The cynics have been out in force on this project highlighting the global recession and Spanish housing market problems as reasons why the Theme Park would never happen, but so far they’ve been proved wrong,’ said Chris Mercer, director of real estate agent Mercers which is at Camposol, ten minutes from the Paramount site.
The Paramount branded park promises to be the first of its kind built in Europe and the most modern to be opened in Spain embracing the latest in 3D technology and environmental awareness.‘I expect the stone laying ceremony to bring calm and confidence to both investors in the Park itself, and to real estate investors hoping to benefit from the equivalent of buying a home right next to Walt Disney World Florida before they started building. The potential is immense,’ added Mercer.
Executive vice president for licensing at Paramount Pictures, Michael Bartok, buried a time capsule box and placed the first stone. He also took the opportunity to confirm that work would start in earnest in October this year after the summer heat had faded and special urban and planning permissions had been received from Alhama de Murcia.
In the meantime, the various attractions that make up the Park and Lifestyle Centre are being commissioned out to expert designers. ‘While Paramount is not a financial investor, we are committed to our globally recognised brand,’ he said, and added that he is delighted with the development of the project and next steps.
Other senior figures in attendance included Pedro Alberto Cruz, Minister of Culture Tourism and Sport for the Region of Murcia, Ramón Luis Valcárcel, president of the region of Murcia, Jesus Samper, president for Murcia’s Flagship Projects (PREMURSA), Antonio Sevilla, Minister of Public Works for Murcia, Joaquin Bascuñana, the government delegate for the region, Manuel Campos Sanchez, Minister of the Presidency of the Region of Murcia, José Ballesta, RegionalUniversity Minister and Fernando Alfonso Ceron, Mayor of Alhama.
Samper was quick to quell any fears over finding investment in this tricky economic climate saying that there were sufficient funds to commence build and a financial cushion to continue whilst suitable investors were sought. He confirmed that there is ‘no going back’ for the project and the team is attending meetings locally and globally to secure investment including an upcoming meeting in the United States.President Ramón Luis Valcárcel expressed his Government’s support to a project that is taking shape.
‘The reality is that this great project has been conceived and developed in record time. Distrust, as of today, must become trust. It is very difficult for anyone outside project to trust if the Spanish themselves have little confidence,’ he said.The Paramount Theme Park requires an investment of more than €1 billion and will create no less than 22,600 construction and operational jobs and hopes to attract upwards of three million visitors each year from around the world.
It will be divided into four areas to include two themed hotels whilst the LifeStyle Centre will have seven hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping mall, casino and a business district with modern office space, an auditorium and convention centre. PREMURSA has been granted the license to construct and operate the Theme Park, exclusively in Spain, for an extendable 30 year period.
The economic impact of the project could make up 2% of the Region’s GDP in forthcoming years. The Theme Park and first phase of the LifeStyle Centre is expected to be open to the public by the middle of 2015.