Promoter Ricardo Arranz de Miguel is the owner of Villa Padierna Marbella Beach, the land where the construction of the five-star Grand Luxury Four Seasons hotel is projected with an investment of more than 700 million euros, which after the approval of the partial plan of El Pinar by the City Council experiences a boost and is closer to being a reality. The initiative contemplates the construction of a tourist establishment with 120 rooms, which will be complemented by some 200 high-end villas. The businessman, who is also the president of the Andalusian Federation of Urban Developers and Residential Tourism, explains to Málaga Hoy what phase the project is in, in addition to assessing the situation of the real estate market in the Costa del Sol destination after almost two years of pandemic of Covid-19.
-How do you assess the approval of the partial plan of El Pinar last October by the Plenary of Marbella?
-It has been a tremendous struggle with the issue of sector reports, which is what has delayed everything because most came from the Government of the Nation such as Roads, Coasts and Environment, but the City Council has also been very positioned that the project went ahead. The partial plan was already approved previously, the only thing that has been done is to request the sectorial reports again because the technicians considered that it had been a long time since it was approved and they had to be renewed. We already have them and now all we have to do is get down to business and start the project.
-When was the partial plan for El Pinar approved?
-We had approved it since the 90s. When the Government of Jesús Gil made the General Plan for Urban Development (PGOU) we adapted, but it was not approved. Then the PP came and made another new General Plan in 2010 to which we adapted, but the court also annulled it, and right now we have returned to the previous 86 plan and we have updated sectorial reports.
-What does the approval of the partial plan in the Plenary mean for the development of the project?
-The project is already underway, which has been done for two or three years by the American architect Richard Meier, and now the hotel, the houses or residences, private residences and the villas. There is also going to be a small hotel on the beachfront where formerly there was a campsite, restaurants and a becah club for a luxury resort like Four Seasons is going to be.
-Have you streamlined the initiative?
-It has generated the starting point to present the project in the City Council and obtain the licenses to start building.
-When is it scheduled to present it?
-It is being seen and discussed. Then, there will probably be the Christmas break and at the beginning of the year we will start with all the procedures to start building, such as requesting the building license.
-In what state is the project?
-The whole project is done, and even the models of the Four Seasons hotel, of the residences or attached apartments, the private residences, which are the apartments that will be outside the hotel; and the villas. We are talking about a resort of 450,000 square meters with 800 of the seafront. It is a very large and complicated project in the sense that it has a lot of real estate around a purely hotel product.
-What are you working on at the moment?
Now what is being done is to adapt the project in the urban sense, because American architecture is not the same and a Spanish company has already taken over here. When an American architect is designing, all of this has to be passed on to the urban reality of a City Council like Marbella.
-When is the start of the works expected?
-The moment you have the license, it is expected immediately. Procedures will begin at the beginning of the year and construction will begin in the middle.
-If these deadlines are met, when is the opening projected?
-Everything will be built in phases. The first thing to be built is going to be the hotel with part of the furniture. Therefore, in two years once we have the license it will be obtained.
-What is the current view of investors?
–It is one of total optimism. They have had to endure all these procedures, which in any other country is difficult to understand that it would take so long to project this project, but investors at the moment are excited to do the best project that can be done in Marbella.
-Has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the initial project?
-The pandemic has given certain insecurities at a certain time with everything that has happened in the economic issue, such as what was going to happen or if the market was going to start up as it has been in a tremendous way. And it is true that at a certain moment not only the investors, but myself as the promoter of the project and owner, we have had these insecurities, but once the market has started up again, what you have to do is not waste a minute.
-Has the original design been modified?
-It is the same, it is the typical project of all the Four Seasons in the world in which the hotel theme is developed with the residential complex as a whole.
-What characteristics does the project have?
-There are 120 rooms and 200 luxury villas. All type resorts Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental They are the flagship of luxury in the world, and it is a hotel product surrounded by other real estate. With this, we are going to implement the three American products of residences, which are the apartments within the hotel and that they are only used one month a year; the private residences, that they are apartments that provide all kinds of hotel services and if you want to rent it, you rent it; and the luxury villas. Everything is built and decorated through the developer with a clear style within the resort.
-How is the hotel of the old campsite finally left?
-The campsite will be rebuilt and it will be a hotel with about 30 rooms on the seafront that will be a marvel, which will have its dock and its beach club next to it with all the luxury that can be endowed with a resort of this style.
-What does the arrival of the Four Seasons brand to the Costa del Sol destination mean?
-It is the same as the arrival of the Four Seasons in Madrid together with the Mandarin Oriental and other brands that are already starting up, and it represents a before and after. I believe that Marbella needs the big luxury brands to consolidate this market. Behind the Four Seasons, I know that Mandarin Oriental is very excited to enter Marbella, and behind all the large or small luxury brands, there are many who are interested in the city.
-What does it mean on a personal level that the project finally starts?
– I embrace this project as one of the main professional challenges of my life because in it two old illusions of mine are condensed. On the one hand, the consolidation of Marbella and the Golden Triangle (Marbella, Benahavís and Estepona) as a destination associated with sophistication, something that I have always pursued in all the companies I have undertaken. And on the other hand, the arrival in this city so closely linked to my life, my family and my memory of a group of brands that give prestige to everything they do and that are an unequivocal guarantee of quality, commitment and future. I believe this resort at the entrance to Marbella, which is Villa Padierna Marbella Beach, where the Four Seasons is going to be held, was one of the great illusions that I had to develop a high-quality product and with this we have succeeded.
-How many years have you been with the process?
We have been around since the nineties. We already had the partial plan approved and due to circumstances the PGOU at the time of the GIL was paralyzed, then the PP project came, which also the general plan was canceled and right now we have returned to the plan of 86 and with it we have developed the project with much less buildability. At this time, what prevails is not buildability, since what prevails is not quantity, but quality.
– They are more than 25 years, almost half life …
Well yes, and just a land that is fully urbanized and fully finished since that time. Half a life with the illusion of doing a good thing and surely at that time we would have done more of the same, with which the illusion is in having endured. He who endures, wins.
-In the real estate field, which you represent in the autonomous community, what is the current situation of the sector?
-There is a clear assessment of the rest of Europe of what Spain is, and especially the Costa del Sol, and within this, what is the Golden Triangle (Marbella, Benahavís and Estepona); The latter is currently boiling and all that remains of the coast is under construction. Marbella is waiting to make its General Plan just like Benahavís. The situation is that everything that is second-hand is being sold and what is first-hand and construction too. There is a boom in the real estate world, I think also boosted by the Malaga brand, which is in a boiling moment, and that is what we have to take advantage of in the coming years.
-What type of housing is being demanded right now?
-Especially luxury villas between 6 and 12 million euros is what is selling the most.
-Which customer is buying?
-Normally Nordic, German and a lot of English.
-Has the pandemic increased sales in the area?
-We came from a huge crisis and the pandemic worsened the crisis even more and now with the end of the pandemic there is an assessment of what we have such as the climate, the infrastructures that Andalusia currently has, that you have the Alcornocales Park in an hour and an hour and a half Sierra Nevada. The security that we have around, the Airport, the AVE or the integration of any type of country within Andalusia, which is very easy, is also valued. All of this is being valued because in other places like the Côte d’Azur there are much more problems.
-How do you value from the sector that such powerful cities at the real estate level with Marbella or Benahavís have their general plans blocked?
-We value it as a disaster that has no name and that now in some way with the new Law of Promotion for the Sustainability of the Territory of Andalusia (LISTA), I imagine that it will be that these things do not happen again.