Size Matters in Spain; Six New Florida-Style Resorts in Spain's Murcia Region Will Have Schools, Hospitals, Even a Sports Arena, Says Cathy Hawker Homes & Property

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Size Matters in Spain; Six New Florida-Style Resorts in Spain's Murcia Region Will Have Schools, Hospitals, Even a Sports Arena, Says Cathy Hawker Homes & Property


Byline: CATHY HAWKER

DOES size matter? Polaris World certainly thinks it does. It has taken 12.5 million acres of prime agricultural land in southeast Spain and plans to create a Florida-style resort on an audacious scale.

Consider the figures: six interlinked resorts with potentially 45,000 properties; total investment of around [pounds sterling] 3 billion; three five- star Intercontinental Hotels; eight Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses; Polaris World-owned garden centre, petrol station and supermarkets, all due for completion by 2020.

The original vision was about facilities and ease of living, says CEO Jose Luis Hernandez de Arce. "The size lets us improve what we offer."

"In 2001 we anticipated the trend for residential tourism. Time is today's scarce resource and we aim to create a concept that fulfils all clients' needs."

The six varied Polaris World sites are set in the Murcia region, 40 minutes south of Alicante, among fertile plains stocked with olive and orange trees.

The Mar Menor, Europe's largest saltwater lagoon, sits adjacent to sandy Mediterranean beaches on the Costa Calida and the Roman town of Cartagena provides historic interest.

San Javier airport is 10 minutes away and, La Manga Club aside, there is little development.

"Murcia is one of Spain's largest regions but its development potential has largely been ignored," says Hernandez de Arce. "This late start gives us the opportunity to learn from mistakes made elsewhere in Spain. …

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