The construction of the 35-storey luxury hotel planned for Malaga's port took a major step forward last week when the regional government's Environment ministry gave a positive report on its environmental impact.
The Junta de Andalucía had fast tracked its conclusion to Malaga council's request to have the plans for the piece of land that the hotel will be built on reviewed.
The Junta decision clears the way for the council and its department of Urban Planning to change the land use designation in the urban plan, a process that could take a year.
Construction of the tower is expected to start at the beginning of 2020 but the plans will still need to get approval from the Spanish cabinet, as ports are a national competence, and a final permission from the Junta as it will be over the current 15-storey height restriction.
The Junta's positive environmental impact report has said that the piece of land, next to the cruise terminal, some 500 metres from the shore, “is part of the urban landscape and the visual impact of the area is already affected by business, industrial and transport activity”, and it concludes that the building “won't mean any alteration to anything of natural value”.
The report adds that the area doesn't currently have any legal protection and rejects opposition from the city's architects' association and Ecologistas en Acción, a green group.
Business groups said the Junta's decision was a positive move for future investment in the city.