Footballing greats invest heavily in the Algarve

news: Footballing greats invest heavily in the Algarve

• Ronaldo and Deco are joining the venture to build a four star tourist complex in Alvor
• Ronaldo and Deco are joining the venture to build a four star tourist complex in Alvor

National team players Ronaldo, Deco, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho and Tiago, along with businessman and agent Jorge Mendes, are joining the Algarve firm RR Grupo to build a four star, 400 apartment, tourist complex in Alvor. The aparthotel, christened Alvor Baía, will be near the beaches of Alvor, Três Irmãos and Vau, and also close to the perennially popular golf courses of Penina and Alto Golf. Alvor Baía will boast an array of luxury facilities, including an indoor pool, congress hall and sporting areas.

The famous footballers, along with Mendes, who also manages the careers of the five players concerned, are splitting the cost of the venture with the RR Group, which will oversee the future management of the complex. One of the RR Group’s owners, Fernando Rocha, has always enjoyed a close relationship with the football world. He is currently a non-executive director of FC Porto, a factor that may have enabled him to attract famous names as business partners.

Paulo Neves, director-general of the RR Group, says that construction on Alvor Baía will begin next February and that the hotel will open its doors by the middle of 2008. Neves highlighted the fact that this was the first time that almost half the players in Portugal’s first team have become involved in such a project.

Other footballers have launched business ventures in the Algarve, including Luís Figo who owns a bar in Vilamoura and a clothing franchise. But the trend towards players buying into real estate took off earlier this year when AC Milan player Rui Costa invested in Costa de Cabanas in Tavira, a tourist complex of 216 apartments and 50 houses, and Terraços de Benagil in Carvoeiro, a project involving 50 luxury homes.

Benfica boss boosts Castro Marim

Five ambitious tourist projects, representing a total investment of around 1,000 million euros, will also transform one of the poorest Algarve concelhos, Castro Marim, over the next decade.

The president of Benfica, Luís Filipe Vieira, is investing more than 200 million euros near the Castro Marim coast, between Altura and Praia Verde, an area where Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, also retains business interests. The new high-quality tourist complex, Verde Lago, will house 2,041 beds and will include a five star hotel, a village, a shopping and service area and an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse. Luís Filipe Vieira has other interests in the Sotavento, having already invested in projects in Cabanas de Tavira. But the Verde Lago project, conducted through his firm, Inland, is his biggest project to date.

Aside from Verde Lago, four other major tourist complexes are currently under development in Castro Marim. Unlike the Verde Lago project, all the other constructions are funded with foreign capital: Corte Velho, a 200 million euro complex with 2,100 beds, and Almada do Ouro, a 300 million euro complex with 2,800 beds, are both backed by English capital and are located near the River Guadiana. Quinta do Vale (100 million euros and 750 beds) is a Spanish venture, while Dutch capital is behind Castro Marim Golf (200 million euros and 1,250 beds).

José Estevens, President of Castro Marim Câmara, has pledged that the developments would carry certain stipulations to ensure they were environmentally and aesthetically friendly. “We have drawn lessons from the mistakes made in other Algarve concelhos. We want quality tourism for Castro Marim and one that works in harmony with the environment and the countryside,” he said.