Future of retail development in region unknown

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

Plans for new retail centres in Portimão, shopping developments in Almancil and Faro and news of Swedish furniture giant IKEA moving to the region have left interested parties in confusion as to what exactly is happening with planning permission for this explosion of commercial areas in the region.

It has been revealed that only one of the proposed shopping development projects has been approved by Portuguese authorities (Comissão Regional de Licenciamento Comercial), the Apolónia Lifestyle Centre in Almancil, while all other planned developments are still awaiting various environmental impact studies and other approvals to be able to continue.

The mega mall, Aqua Portimão, planned to open in the Boavista area of Portimão, next to the new Portimão retail centre (see the Algarve Resident March 27) would be one of the largest shopping centres in the country and the biggest in the Algarve if approved.

Although the planning process is moving ahead, there are no guarantees that the project will be approved and developers are currently awaiting the results of an environmental impact study into the project to be able to grant building licences.

Shopping craze

Another retail park is also in the planning stages for Portimão. This latest development is to be situated next to the Barlavento Hospital in Portimão and will be known as the Rose Park. Spanish development group Bogaris are to coordinate the development of the Rose Park which is estimated to cost 37.3million euros, however this project is still in the early planning stages.

Also in Portimão there are plans to open a Feira Nova supermarket on the site of the old cooperative winery and popular international sports clothing and equipment chain, Decathlon, is planning new stores in the Algarve with one to be situated in Portimão and the other in Faro.

Meanwhile, Os Mosqueteiros group is currently building a large Intermarché hypermarket in Aldeia do Carrasco in Portimão and a sports complex to be built in Aldeias das Sobreiras-Barranco Rodrigo will also include a shopping centre.

The future of retail in the region may look buoyant, however it will be sometime before the reality of all the plans can truly be assessed.

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