Construction will start this year, if all goes according to plan, with the goal of opening in 2026.
Match Lagoa, a major project to build a high-performance sports centre between Carvoeiro and Lagoa capable of attracting top-level teams to the Algarve, has secured all necessary licences, paving the way for its long-awaited construction.
If all goes well, construction should start in the third quarter of 2024 with an eye to open the complex in 2026.
“It feels like we have just run a marathon,” CEO and co-founder of real estate development company Carvoeiro Branco, Erik de Vlieger, told the Resident.
As he explained, reaching this stage has been anything but easy – just six months ago, Carvoeiro Branco was questioning whether it was still going to move forward with the project.
“We lost Chelsea FC as a partner of the project, and the financing we had in place from Turismo de Portugal (national tourism entity) expired. We had to decide if we were going to move forward with the project, and we decided we were. So now we have to start over again from a financial/commercial perspective,” the Lagoa-based Dutch businessman told us, adding that the next step is finding a “good constructor”, establishing contacts with interested clients and restarting the financing process with Turismo de Portugal and a national bank.
Despite the need to start over in some respects, the team at Carvoeiro Branco is “still enthusiastic”.
“We were demoralised, but we are a very positive and ambitious company. We have reached the end of this marathon, and now the next marathon begins, which involves preparing for construction,” de Vlieger said.
Due to be built between Carvoeiro and Lagoa, Match Lagoa will include a two-storey hotel “designed for athletes’ comfort and convenience”, a reception and lounge area, a restaurant/clubhouse for team gatherings and dining, around 40 bedrooms, each measuring 30sqm, an indoor spa and an outdoor pool. One of the standout features of the football complex will be its two “outdoor hybrid football pitches” that offer an “optimal playing surface for teams to train and compete at the highest level”-
“We could have teams like Liverpool and Bayern Munich walking around Lagoa”
Erik de Vlieger has often spoken about the importance of diversifying the Algarve’s economy, which he believes is too heavily reliant on tourism.
“Match Lagoa will be fantastic for Lagoa because it will create 12 months of activity. In a couple of years, we will have the chance to have clubs like Liverpool, Ajax and Bayern Munich walking around Lagoa and Carvoeiro,” he stressed.
He also believes the project will serve to attract more people to the municipality. “If a team like PSG is here, people will come here to see them,” the entrepreneur highlighted.
Carvoeiro Branco is confident that the sports centre’s location in the Algarve, with its “impressive 300 days of sunshine per year”, as well as its “strategic proximity to the sea and Faro International Airport, just a 40-minute drive away”, will ensure easy accessibility for teams around the world.
“The combination of a top-notch sports facility, comfortable accommodation, and prime location sets Match Lagoa apart as a premier destination for professional football teams,” the company adds.
Developers “too focused on building for tourists”
An article recently published by Expresso newspaper caught Erik de Vlieger’s eye and highlighted one of Portugal’s most pressing issues: around 30% of people born in Portugal and aged between 15 and 39 now live abroad.
“This could create big problems for the country in 20, 30 or 40 years’ time. Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. As an ‘inside outsider’, as I sometimes call myself, I’m happy to contribute to another way of thinking,” the businessman said.
“Let’s face it: most developers concentrate on building apartments, villas or townhouses for foreigners near the sea. That creates a very poor economy,” Erik de Vlieger lamented, stressing how Carvoeiro Branco has strived to do things differently.
One of its projects, Vale da Pipa, stands as the biggest example – a resident development being built on the outskirts of Lagoa with affordable houses for young families.
“So, what I would like to say to developers, as well as municipal councils, is there is also profit to be made in projects that do not involve building houses for foreigners,” he stressed.
Two of its other projects – Primelife, a luxury resort in Carvoeiro, and Atrium Liberdade, a complex of 33 apartments in Lagoa – are under construction, with respectively 50% and over 70% of its units sold. A forthcoming project in Carvoeiro (whose name will be determined through a contest with community involvement) is expecting its building permits soon.
Further projects are also in the works as Carvoeiro Branco continues to expand, with its working area based between Faro and Sagres. One that stands out is the plan to turn a historic sardine factory in Portimão into a thriving residential community.
You can learn more about Carvoeiro Branco’s projects on their website www.carvoeirobranco.com
By MICHAEL BRUXO