Former Disney exec eyes Spain resort casino mega-project

TAGs: cora alpha, extremadura, spain

cora-alpha-extremadura-resort-casino-spain-projectA new mega resort casino project is planned for Spain’s Extremadura region, but only time will tell if the plans come to fruition.

On Monday, officials in Spain’s autonomous region of Extremadura announced the birth of a new mega-resort to be known as Elysium City, which features a multi-phased rollout with a total budget of up to US$13.5b, assuming all of these grand plans ever take tangible root.

The project is being backed by California development firm Cora Alpha, a division of Cora Global, which is run by John Cora, a former VP of the Disney corporation in charge of theme park operations and resort development.

The plans are to develop the Elysium resort on a 1,200-hectare parcel of land in the Extremaduran town of Castilblanco. The first phase expects to complete in 2023 and would consist of a casino, four hotels, a golf course, several theme parks, plus a 40k-seat football stadium and an assortment of infrastructure projects to serve a 2k-home residential complex.

The second phase would follow in 2028 and would add more residential space, a solar power plant, a Formula One racing track, a convention center and other amenities. The first phase would require an outlay of around $3.5b while phase two would require another US$10b.

Cora Alpha reportedly plans to commence construction on phase one within six to nine months, but Spain has a well-earned reputation as the place where US mega-resort projects are announced and then die on the vine after local politicians and regulators pour sugar in the gas tanks.

Despite several years of planning, Las Vegas Sands’ vaunted EuroVegas project came to naught after failing to obtain the necessary tax breaks and smoking law concessions. More recently, the Cordish company’s Madrid resort casino plan fell apart after regulators imposed fresh hurdles that the company failed to clear. Meanwhile, Hard Rock International appears to be proceeding with a €2b project near Barcelona.

The Extremadura government passed new gaming laws this summer that offer extremely favorable gaming tax – an 80% reduction on the standard 15% gaming revenue rate – to mega-projects such as Elysium. However, that wasn’t enough to convince a different developer, Canadian firm Triple Five, from ruling out a resort casino project in Castilblanco due to a lack of critical infrastructure.


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