In July 2012 we wrote an article about Sheldon Adelson’s controversial plans to construct a multi-billion dollar gambling resort somewhere in the outskirts of Madrid or Barcelona. Last February, Adelson finally made his decision and selected a 750-hectare site in Alcorcón, a quiet suburb of Madrid.
After the first stone is laid late this year it will become one of Europe‘s biggest building sites, creating tens of thousands of jobs in recession-hit Spain. The development would include six casinos with 18,000 slot machines and 1,000 gambling tables, 12 hotels featuring a total of 36,000 rooms, a convention center, three golf courses, bars, restaurants and shopping centers — all for a total of $35 billion.
The first renders for the project –which recently appeared on the internet- revealed what can be expected of the man that once brought a bit of Europe to the US. After constructing the (in)famous Venetian hotel including a replica of The Rialto Bridge and the Campanile di San Marco, he simply turns the trick around by proposing a replica of New York’s Times Square for Spain. Another icon, revealed on the renders is two Shard-like twin skyscrapers in the shape of Madrid’s ‘M’ said to become 250 meter tall.
Local officials welcome Adelson’s plans with open arms, and focus on the large inward investment and potential for massive job creation. The Spaniards are however divided over whether they want giant casinos in their backyards and fear that EuroVegas will become an “island” for gambling. Especially now that Madrid’s regional government is working on changes to key local gambling laws, and a in December approved law has removed usual height restrictions for the resort’s skyscrapers. Also an exception to the national smoking ban and specially granted tax breaks are being discussed for the area.
Time will tell who will in the end benefit from these developments, or if this is the type of investments that brings long-term prosperity for Greater Madrid. We’ll keep you updated…