Massive €418 million “business and leisure” complex gets thumbs-up in Loulé

After years on the back burner, a €418 million project to build a mega “business and leisure” development in Loulé has received its first thumbs up from the government.

The project, entitled Algarve Cluster Multiusos and including a congress centre, water sports theme park, wellness centre and shops, is promoted by construction company Enola Invest, reports Correio da Manhã.

It is planned for a 60-hectare site in Campina de Baixo, near the former Unicer factory, and promises to create around 400 jobs.

One of the main features is a massive 3,500-seat auditorium.

The theme park too will be exceptional in that it will introduce visitors to radical sports like “cable skiing”.

Unsurprisingly, the idea has already sparked criticism from retailers association, ACRAL.

“The commercial aspect of the project is clearly too much, especially after the approval of IKEA nearby,” said ACRAL boss Álvaro Viegas.

“The IKEA complex will have 220 stores, in the same area where two other malls and several other commercial outlets already exist. Adding another shopping area to this list could even be counterproductive,” he warned.

The project has already been given “project of regional interest” status by the government (in State newspaper Diário da República, on May 17) and it received “municipal interest status” from Loulé council in 2013.

It is now up to Enola Invest to present a Plano de Pormenor (detailed plan).

It will be at this point that local and national authorities would then decide on whether the plan gets final approval.

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