After the exit of Room Mate and the rescue and return to profit of her main real estate company, Ferrado, Sandra Ortega is straightening her investments in the hotel sector, although this does not mean that they are free of controversy. The luxury resort she is building on the Tróia peninsula, in Portugal, has become the target of criticism from various environmental groups who claim that it will have an impact on the dunes in the area where it is planned. In fact, an initiative promoted by these groups has launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the legal battle aimed at paralyzing a complex with a budget of around €200 million.
The initiative, promoted by the Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente and the Plataforma Dunas Livres, alerts to the existence of several resorts and luxury tourist complexes being built on the peninsula that “threaten the 40 km of Costa Azul between Tróia and Melides.”
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An environmental study carried out by the promoters of the crowdfunding project indicates that the ‘Na Praia’ resort, which Sandra Ortega is promoting through the Ferrado Na Comporta subsidiary, will have a “negative, direct, certain, permanent, irreversible, large-scale and very significant” impact on the area, which is known for its biodiversity. In addition, they argue that the start of the project was developed without the necessary authorizations and with “a certain opacity in the legal frameworks.” This winter, when the Dunas Livres Platform announced its crowdfunding campaign and assured that “the licensing of the project has not yet been concluded, despite the fact that the Grândola City Hall issued a precarious shipyard license on the same day that the platform filed a complaint with the authorities for the start of illegal works on the site.”
The environmental collective went so far as to request a copy of the license for the resort owned by Amancio Ortega’s eldest daughter to evaluate its development. According to them, this access was denied on several occasions until the environmentalists threatened to go to court. According to Dunas Livres, the municipality of Grândola, where the project is being developed, was in favor of providing the documents but requested a financial contribution for this purpose.
Initially, the crowdfunding campaign was born with the aim of raising the €1,180 that in theory cost the required document, although, at this time, the campaign has been extended to the goal of €20,000. At the moment, the environmental platform has raised about €7,500.
The criticisms of environmental groups are not only focused on Sandra Ortega’s luxury resort. The proliferation of several tourist projects in the peninsula has triggered the alarms of these groups that denounce the overcrowding generated by the nearly 30,000 tourist beds projected in the municipality of Grandola. Grupo Pestana, Amorim Luxury, or Coporgest have also joined to exploit the new Ibiza with tourist ventures.
But, in the same way that the ‘Na Praia counts’ complex has its detractors, it also has its followers, due to the economic impact that, they say, it will generate in the area. The tourist complex will rise on the land that the richest woman in Spain bought from Sonae Capital in 2016 for about €50 million. It is expected to have a five-star hotel, three tourist centers, and sports and leisure facilities. In total, it is estimated to total more than half a thousand beds. At the end of 2019, the Portuguese government approved a series of tax benefits for the project, due to the investment and the expected job creation: 161.1 million euros and 318 jobs by the end of December 2023. According to the Portuguese press, work would have started by the end of 2021.
That year, when the mayor of the municipality of Grândola announced the imminent start of the works, he stressed that the initial project had undergone changes “in accordance with the recommendations of various entities, especially those linked to the environment.”
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First published in Economia Digital Galicia, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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