Park of Nations thrives

news: Park of Nations thrives

SEVERAL projects are being planned and some are currently under construction at Lisbon’s Park of Nations, the former Expo’98 site.

Work has started on what will be Lisbon’s biggest office complex, Office Park Expo, situated close to the Oriente railway station and the Vasco da Gama shopping centre. Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006, the 65,000sqm complex will consist of eight nine-storey buildings and an 18-floor tower. Shops and an underground parking area for 4,000 vehicles will also be part of the Office Park, which is expected to be visited by some 5,000 people daily. The project is being financed by four of Portugal’s biggest pension funds.

The news came almost a month after it was announced that Lisbon’s first casino will be opening at the Park of Nations, on September 25 next year. Run by the Estoril-Sol group, who also have the concession for the casino in nearby Estoril, it will be housed in what was the Pavilion of the Future during Expo’98. According to Estoril-Sol managing director, Mário Assis Ferreira, the Lisbon Casino will be aimed at young people and be “profoundly avant-garde”.

Also in the pipeline for the Park of Nations is a 20-floor Sana Hotel, to be built adjacent to the Vasco da Gama Tower, which, at 142 metres, is Portugal’s highest building. The Sana group presently runs seven hotels in Lisbon, one in Estoril and another in Sesimbra.

The Vasco da Gama Tower, which has a platform with a panoramic view, closed to the public last Sunday, but will re-open next spring. The T-Torre restaurant, formerly run by well-known entrepreneur José Manuel Trigo and which operated in the Tower for several years, closed in July. Several other projects are planned for the former Expo’98 site, including another office complex, complete with restaurants, to be housed in the Virtual Reality Pavilion and a Bingo hall.

Formerly the site of an open air waste disposal area and obsolete oil refineries, the Park of Nations area is now a thriving part of Lisbon. According to 2003 figures, 9,000 people are living there, 10,000 work there and more than 33,000 frequent the shops, restaurants and other facilities located in the area. Among the latter are Europe’s biggest Oceanarium, Portugal’s largest bowling centre and the multipurpose Atlântico Pavilion.