Artists' impression. / SUR

Qatari luxury port hotel backers not put off by negative report

The Ministry of Culture says the 166-metre tower in Malaga would harm the nearby old town but the city's mayor and port authority also disagree

FRANCISCO JIMÉNEZ / SUR Malaga

The investors behind a planned luxury hotel for Malaga's port have said they remain committed to the ambitious but controversial project.

Confirmation of their continued interest came just a few days after the national Ministry of Culture published a damning report on the 166-metre-tall tower which would house the 26-storey five-star hotel and conference facilities for 1,100 people.

Earlier this month, representatives from Al Alfia, the Qatari-royal- family fund that wants to build, visited Mayor of Malaga Francisco de la Torre and Malaga Port Authority head Carlos Rubio, who are both also strong backers of the scheme, and said their interest has not waned. The investors have also renewed a bank guarantee, believed to be about two million euros, deposited with port bosses, who control the land.

«We are 100 per cent convinced that the project can move forward with our total support and the support of those here in Malaga,» said Joao Jose de Gouveia, representing the Qatari- royal-family fund

The 378-room-hotel has been designed by renowned architect José Seguí and would be built next to the cruise ship terminal, on the eastern edge of the docks. Recently the planned height was reduced by some 20 metres and the location moved slightly due to an issue with the future foundations and port walls. The expected cost has now risen to some 200 million euros.

The Ministry of Culture said in its critical report published last week that the tower would have a negative impact on Malaga's historic old town, which is a protected monument, and the relationship of the city with the sea would be affected.

In order for the project to go ahead, the Spanish Cabinet needs to allow a change of land use in the docks for a hotel and it is likely, but not certain, that ministers will be influenced by the negative conclusion.

An illogical point of view?

Malaga city hall and the Andalusian regional government (that operates the port), both of whom are headed by the conservative PP, have said they are surprised by the PSOE-Podemos government report.

The mayor of Malaga said that he did not understand why large towers had been approved close to the historic centres of Seville and Barcelona in recent years while Malaga's plan had received negative feedback.

Malaga Port Authority has said it will look to appeal the findings.