Gibraltar Properties - Costa Del Sol Properties - Costa De La Luz Properties - Morocco Properties - Portugal Properties 25th October 2014 
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Major property development for Gibraltar

Gibraltar Government has recently announced a major initiative in residential development that will be of benefit to young & low-income prospective purchasers as well as elderly people and others in need of social housing in Gibraltar.

The £30 million scheme will be located on three sites within Gibraltar, the area known as 'The Sands' on Waterport Road and two sites in the Devil's Tower Road area, adjacent to Gibraltar's airport. A total of 550-600 apartments will be built, 300 of which will be for sale to qualifying residents. The remainder will be a mixture of apartments specially designed for elderly people and apartments for rental to applicants on the Government's housing waiting list.

Tenders have been published, inviting applications for the design and project management team; the Government, through its company Gibraltar Residential Property Limited, will act as developers for the scheme, ensuring that costs are kept as low as possible, not only for their benefit as landlords of the social housing aspect of the scheme, but also for the benefit of the prospective purchasers, as these will be able to buy the housing units at cost. It is expected that a large number of purchasers and elderly rental tenants will release other Government rented units when they move to their new homes; these, together with the up to 300 new rental units included in the scheme, will enable Government to make large inroads into the social housing lists.

Lately, residents of Gibraltar on low to average incomes have seen themselves barred from property purchase on the Rock as a result of the ever-increasing house price spiral in Gibraltar. Thanks to this exciting initiative, many more Gibraltarians will be able to afford to buy residential property in their homeland.

Tenders for design and project management must be submitted by 15th November, with the contract commencing on 13th January next. Construction of the new residential properties is planned to begin in Spring 2003, and the design and project management team is to be responsible for all aspects of the construction, from the initial planning stages to the final handover of the completed apartment blocks. Keen interest is expected from major project management firms.

Existing residents triumph

The residents of buildings surrounding the area in Marbella known as El Delfín have been pleased to learn that plans to construct a seven-storey aparthotel on the site have been shelved. Julián Muñoz, the town's mayor, has announced that the residents' campaign to save their views, and with it their quality of life, has succeeded and the area will be turned into a public square for all to enjoy.

The developers of the planned building have been compensated by the allocation of two other plots of land on which they can build. This decision is a triumph for those who oppose unbridled construction without consideration for the rights of existing residents.


Marbella honours Saudi Royal family

Marbella is to show its appreciation of the Saudi royal family by naming two of its streets after family members.

El Bulevar de Rey Fahd is the boulevard running between the Hotel Marbella Club and Río Verde, and La Avenida del Príncipe Salman is the avenue running between Marbella's entrance arch and the fishing port.

The Saudi royal family spend many holidays in their summer palace just outside Marbella, and indeed have recently left the area after weeks spent enjoying the area's many attractions. During the royal family's holiday Marbella's economy benefitted to the tune of several million Euros, and the Marbella municipality under the mayor, Julián Muñoz, voted to honour their favourite visitors in a lasting way.


RBS and Holmes Property link up

The Royal Bank of Scotland, a UK bank which also has vast experience in the Spanish property market, has announced a collaboration, to be known as the Real Partnership, with one of the Costa del Sol's most respected estate agencies, Holmes Property Sales of Sotogrande.

Seeking ways to promote its Real Mortgage in Spain, RBS decided that the best way forward lay in linking up with selected leading estate agencies in each area. Accordingly, Holmes Property Sales, Sotogrande's most successful and longest established estate agency, was invited to be the first to link up with the bank to offer this unique mortgage exclusively within its geographical region.

The Real Mortgage is ideal for non-residents of Spain who may wish to buy Spanish property as a holiday home or as an investment, as it offers up to 75% of the purchase price on either an endowment or capital repayment basis, and interest rates are a competitive 1.5% over the bank's base rate for sterling mortgages and 3-month LIBOR plus 1.5% for Euro mortgages. With competitive fees and no hidden charges, the Real Mortgage is ideal for the many expatriates who spend part of their time living in Spain.

Ian Bateman and Miguel Preysler, the directors of Holmes Property Sales, are enthusiastic about their agency's link-up with the RBS, as they expect the Real Mortgage to be popular with homebuyers in Sotogrande and the surrounding region. They are delighted that their agency has been chosen as RBS's first partner in the promotion of the Real Mortgage as not only are RBS one of the UK's top banks, but the terms of the mortgage offered are highly suitable for purchasers of the high-quality residences which their company markets.



Third Gibraltar Day in London

123 Property News was present at the third Gibraltar Day in London, organised by the Government of Gibraltar. Held, appropriately enough, on Trafalgar Day, October 21st, the event celebrates the strength of the relationship between Gibraltar and the financial community of the City of London and also pays tribute to the long-standing links between the Rock and Britain's military forces.

The Tower of London was the scene of a reception at the Officers' Mess of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, which is the regiment presently stationed at the Tower. Musical entertainment by military bands, including the band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, was followed by lunch hosted by the Hon. Joseph Holliday, Gibraltar's Minister of Tourism, Transport and the Port, and attended by representatives of the related business community. In his speech, Mr Holliday concentrated on the great strides made in recent years in the tourism and shipping sectors of Gibraltar's economy, which has seen success in services offered to tourists as well as substantial increases in the numbers of tourists visiting Gibraltar. The Minister would like to attract more hotels to Gibraltar to cater for the actual and potential increase in the number of visitors. The port also came in for praise, not only for the phenomenal growth over the last few years in both ship and passenger numbers, with the attendant increase in bunkering and chandlery business, but also for the new maritime regulations, which have led to more control over shipping using the port as well as to improved environmental standards.

Of particular interest to 123 Property News were Mr Holliday's references to new property developments in Gibraltar. He referred to the Eastside development, which has attracted much attention from major international construction companies; the final tender date for this project is December 20th and judging of the submitted plans will take place early in 2003. Other construction projects were mentioned, including the new 'island ' development at Queensway Quay and another major private sector development at Rosia Bay, final details of which will be announced shortly.

The Hon Keith Azopardi, Gibraltar's Deputy Chief Minister, also hosted a lunchtime reception at the Royal Automobile Club for members of London's financial community. Representatives of international banking organisations which are already investing in Gibraltar also attended the reception and subsequent lunch. In his speech, Mr Azopardi emphasised the Government's commitment to the Finance Centre, a major employer on the Rock, and outlined the continuing evolution and expansion of Gibraltar's financial services sector and the Government's intention to ensure that best practice is followed in all aspects of Gibraltar's business life. He thanked the representatives of the financial firms present for their continuing support of Gibraltar.

The high point of Gibraltar Day was a reception and dinner hosted by the Chief Minister, the Hon. Peter Caruana. Held at the historic Drapers' Hall, the evening was attended by guests from a wide spectrum of interests, including representatives of both Gibraltar-based and international businesses and banks, members of the armed forces, British and other MPs, officials from the American Embassy in London and also several former Governors of Gibraltar, who are all staunch supporters of the Gibraltarian people.

Mr Caruana's speech in Drapers' Hall dwelt more on the political aspects of Gibraltar's situation and the influence it has on Gibraltar's life. He urged the many influential guests to continue to support Gibraltar in its attempts to build a solid business footing to ensure continuing prosperity and growth in the economy. His speech was greeted by strong applause from those assembled, which seems to augur well for Gibraltar's future.

Gibraltar Government's policy of wooing potential investors appears to be paying dividends, judging by the comments made to 123 Property News by people attending the various events held on Gibraltar Day. Several business representatives voiced their appreciation of the clear, open way in which business in Gibraltar is conducted and praised the introduction on the Rock of the range of regulations which are designed to facilitate investment and business development. The recent decisions made by large international companies to invest in various projects is a great boost to the inhabitants of Gibraltar, and it is hoped that this year's Gibraltar Day will lead to even more businesses investing, and thus promoting Gibraltar's growth.

Joseph Holliday, the minister responsible for tourism and transport in Gibraltar, followed up his attendance at Gibraltar Day with a visit to Piraeus, the port area of Athens, where on October 23rd he addressed an audience of leading Greek ship owners and managers, financiers and maritime lawyers. Accompanied at the 'Maritime Gibraltar' seminar by Tony Davis, Chief Executive of Gibraltar's Port Authority, Captain Fazlur Chowdhury, the Maritime Administrator, and representatives of Gibraltar's shipping-related companies, Mr Holliday informed the guests of his government's maritime policy and their efforts in promoting the port and its services. All aspects of port use have grown over the last few years, from cruise calls to ship registration, but Mr Holliday emphasised that Gibraltar's port still has a lot of room in which to grow and to develop additional services to shipping-related businesses. Greece's position as a major player in shipping and maritime services is inspirational for Gibraltar, and the government hopes Greek shipping firms will show interest in Gibraltar services, leading to an expansion in port business.

During the reception held after the seminar, Greek business representatives expressed interest in the opportunities offered and quizzed the Gibraltar representatives on the business and financial aspects of investment on the Rock. All participants judged the seminar to be a resounding success.

A new 'island' for Gibraltar

An impressive new development is planned for Gibraltar's exclusive waterfront area by the international developers WATG Projects Ltd.

If planning permission is forthcoming, The Island, a development of 19 luxury townhouses, will be built within the harbour area of Gibraltar, on land to be reclaimed from the sea opposite Queensway Quay, Taylor Woodrow's complex of apartments, townhouses and villas. The new houses, each with its own 20 metre yacht mooring and set within verdant landscaping, will have private gardens and individual swimming pools. All will have stupendous views over the sea to Spain.

123 Property News recently attended the launch presentation of this new development in Gibraltar's prestigious Rock Hotel and learned that WATG are to reclaim 10,000 square metres of land from within the harbour area to construct these new homes. The homes are to have 440 square metres of living area and are to be constructed to a very high standard. Prices will be in the region of £3,000 per square metre built area, depending on the design option chosen.

There has already been intense interest from both residents of Gibraltar and international clients, and it is likely that homes on The Island will sell quickly once planning permission has been granted. Several seriously interested potential purchasers have already registered with WATG. However, residents of Queensway Quay and Cormorant Wharf are likely to object to the planned development, on the grounds that their wonderful views will be spoiled. Residents of the adjacent Ordnance Wharf also object to the site of the reclamation, which is planned to be connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Despite these objections, the developers are confident that planning permission will be granted for these prestigious homes; WATG are also interested in other developmental opportunities in Gibraltar, notably the Eastside reclamation area and The Mount, the former admiral's residence set in spacious gardens above the Rock's South District. They have already constructed numerous quality developments throughout the world, ranging from luxury hotels such as The Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpar, the world's market leader in terms of occupancy and revenue per room, through theme parks and convention centres, to senior citizen residential projects. They pledge that the new construction will be an asset to the community and that the reclamation will not harm the seabed, the environmental engineering being carried out by Scott Wilson, one of the world's leading engineering consultancies.

If permission for the development is forthcoming, construction of The Island is planned to take between 30 and 36 months, including 6 to 7 months for the land reclamation. If all goes well, 19 fortunate homeowners will be moving into their prestigious new harbour-front homes by late 2005.

Read more about WATG's world-wide achievements and their plans for Gibraltar in 123 Focus in this issue.


Flights to cost less
Good news for British expatriates and those who rent accommodation to British holidaymakers, as both BA and Iberia announce reduced fares for flights between Spain and the UK.

The airlines have faced tough competition from the low-cost airlines operating between the two countries and have had to make the move in order not to lose further market share, which currently stands at 28% of passengers. However, the low-cost airlines will not give in lightly - the Easyjet/Go consortium plans to hold on to its share of the market by increasing its flight frequency. The number of flights between London or Bristol and Malaga has increased from 18 flights weekly last year to 40 for this season. All good news for passengers!


Success for TURES

The latest TURES property fair took place recently in Marbella's Palacio de Ferias y Congresos, and 123 Property News was there to check out all the latest developments in the world of residential tourism and related matters in Andalucía.

Attended by most of the main real estate promoters and developers in the area, the fair was another great success, attracting many visitors from all over Europe and beyond. The residential tourism market is an ever-growing one on the Costa del Sol, and the number of visitors to the fair reflected this, nearly 7000 people attending the event. It is expected that many of the queries received by the exhibitors will result in firm sales of properties, encouraging even more residential tourism on the coast.


New Taylor Woodrow development

The Cliftons, Taylor Woodrow's new residential development in Gibraltar, has met with approval from prospective purchasers, with a good proportion of the 23 properties already reserved just weeks after the development was announced.

The Cliftons is a development of apartments, townhouses and a villa centred around the old Royal Naval Hospital in Gibraltar's prestigious south district and comprising a mix of refurbishment and new build. The development is to be built in three phases, Orchid House, ten apartments set within part of the old military hospital complex, Clifton Mews, three townhouses and a villa set on a cliff top and enjoying panoramic views, and the third phase, Edward House, three apartments constructed within an Edwardian former senior ratings' building, with the six townhouses of Edward Mews alongside.

Taylor Woodrow are well known for the quality of their constructions, among which are the sought after Queensway Quay complex, and The Cliftons promises to be of an equally high quality.


Telecommunications boost for Gibraltar

Gibtelecom have announced the innovation of a new broadband telecommunications system that will be of great benefit to both residents and businesses in Gibraltar.

The Rock's telecommunication company are to offer initially ADSL technology, which enables users to enjoy broadband services on their current telephone line. The main advantages are unlimited 'Always On' 24-hour internet access with much higher access speeds, and simultaneous use of the telephone, a great selling point for all those parents with internet-mad children! Other multimedia services, such as video on demand, are also on offer.

Different packages will be available to cater for both residential and business customers.

Many planning irregularities

The planning committee of the Junta de Andalucía has detected a high incidence of residential planning irregularities in towns throughout the region.

Many municipal authorities have made planning decisions that do not accord with the Junta's overall plans for housing and breach regulations governing housing density, amongst other irregularities. In return for financial help from developers for municipal projects, land is redesignated as available for construction and urbanisations arise in possibly unsuitable areas.

A major culprit is Marbella, where 84 planning irregularities were found, 60% of the total planning applications passed during 2001. Other towns, whilst not so prolific, were also found to have significant numbers of irregularities.


More parking space needed

New residential developments in the town of Algarrobo may soon have to cater for two parking spaces per residence. While current regulations specify only one parking space per dwelling, pressure on the current parking spaces, particularly during the summer, means that the Town Hall is considering an amendment specifying two spaces for every flat or house.


Another development for La Duquesa

The popular urbanisation Hacienda Guadalupe in Manilva is to gain another 22 apartments in the new construction Terrazas de Guadalupe. The new apartment block will feature homes with two or three bedrooms with up to three bathrooms set in a low-rise building close to the sea.

The apartments will have between 104 and 191 square metres of built area and will be either ground floor with private garden and terrace, first floor with private terraces or second floor with terraces and a spacious solarium at roof level. Some of the apartments will be spread over the two upper floors, again with terraces and solarium. The building is set within its own tropical gardens and has a communal swimming pool and private parking.

The complex is built close to the popular La Duquesa harbour area, which features a great variety of restaurants and a vibrant social life. La Duquesa Golf is also adjacent, with Sotogrande only 5 minutes away to the south and Estepona ten minutes away in the other direction. Prices for units in the development are from 132,000 Euros and it is being marketed by Escambrai, a firm which has sold many residences in the surrounding area.

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