Ambitious garden city project planned inside Gibraltar's port

A model of the proposed Victoria Keys development.
A model of the proposed Victoria Keys development. / SUR
  • The 100,000-square-metre residential development, which will also have leisure and retail facilities, is to be called Victoria Keys

Plans were announced this week for an ambitious new development within Gibraltar harbour, west of Coaling Island and in Port waters, which will be called Victoria Keys.

The project will involve creating 60,000 square metres of new land, using material from the unsightly 'rubble mountain' on the East side of the Rock for the reclamation, and it will provide 100,000 square metres of residential buildings with leisure, community, commercial and retail use.

According to the plans, Victoria Keys will be mainly pedestrianised, with parking and traffic movements underground. There will be an extensive landscaped promenade, solely for pedestrians and cyclists, along the entire waterfront perimeter, and wide tree-lined avenues running east to west with views across the bay.

If this major project sounds expensive, well, yes it is. However the Gibraltar government insists that it will cost taxpayers virtually nothing.

A press release from the government says the works will be carried out by Harbour Developments Limited, a consortium of locally-based developers. The reclamation costs will be financed by a Government owned company on a fully secured basis using funds raised from the £300 million institutional investment in Gibraltar.

Once the reclamation is complete, the Government-owned company will be repaid, with interest, and will also receive a prime site (50% of the southernmost side of the reclaimed plot) with a guaranteed value of £25 million. The government will also receive a 20% share in the equity of the developer.

It will be a while before Victoria Keys becomes reality, however, as it has yet to go through all the town planning regulation and environmental impact procedures.