Silves theme park hangs in balance

By: Caroline Cunha

[email protected]

THE FUTURE of Atlantis Park, a 500 million euro major theme park planned for the Vale do Algoz area of Silves, is in doubt, The Resident has learned this week.

When The Resident asked Isabel Soares, President of Silves Câmara, about the project, she said: “The Icelandic investors behind this project seem to have disappeared.”

Soares said she had not seen them at the Câmara recently but that she was still keen to assist them and would welcome the investment in the borough.

Now it seems that one of the main investors and CEO of the company, Icelandic real estate millionaire Robert Melax, has pulled out.

When The Resident telephoned Melax in Iceland to ask about the progress of the plans, he said: “I am not prepared to comment on the project because my involvement with this ended in late May of last year. I was responsible for the due diligence and, when I left, the viability study had not been completed.”

Melax would not provide any further details as to the reasons for his departure or about the likely future of the project. The mystery deepened further when The Resident contacted Larus Ellisson, another Icelandic investor involved in the project. “I don’t want to make any comment,” he said, when asked about the future of Atlantis Park.

A source close to the project told The Resident that the American and Moroccan investors involved in the Atlantis Park project have also walked away, citing an internal dispute as the reason.

The Resident also contacted one of the real estate people who was involved in trying to procure land for the project from local residents.

“I worked for them for over a year and then I didn’t hear anymore,” said the agent, who asked not to be named. “I really don’t know what is happening with it now, but I believe it cannot go ahead as the main investor pulled out.” Some sources say the project is “dead” and, at the very least, the future looks bleak.

It will be sad news for Silves if the Atlantis Park does not go ahead. It was billed as being the Algarve’s answer to Disney World and would create around 7,000 jobs in the area. As well as the theme park and water park, the plans also included the construction of a golf course, three five star hotels and a real estate development.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]