Working group created to bring Faro’s huge €170 million dockland project to life

A working group has been created to bring Faro’s €170 million dockland project to life. It has three months to come up with concrete ideas to make “Farformosa”, as the project is called, possible.

As the Resident reported in June last year (click here), Faro council unveiled a hugely ambitious plan to turn the city’s virtually abandoned commercial docks into a huge development featuring a state-of-the-art maritime research centre, a marina, an oceanarium, three hotels, a congress centre and assisted-living facilities for the elderly.

The project was presented to the Sines and Algarve port authority (APS) until it was finally discussed with the Sea Minister in December.

“The minister welcomed the idea and thus the working group now has 90 days to carry out a study so that we can move forward with urbanisation plans for the area,” Faro mayor Rogério Bacalhau told news website Sulinformação.

“It is very gratifying as the space is not serving anyone,” he added.

The project is said to have already attracted the interest of several investors, both in Portugal and abroad, which leaves Bacalhau hopeful that the project will have plenty of interested parties to help it take off.

The decision to create the working group was officially announced in the government’s official newspaper Diário da República on January 2.

The group comprises representatives from the Sea Minister’s office, Faro council, the Sines and Algarve port authority, the national port and fishing authority Docapesca and the national sea and atmosphere institute IPMA.

Set in the heart of Ria Formosa, the development could be constructed in five to 10 years and create over 1,500 jobs, mayor Bacalhau said in June.

The highlight would be the new CCMAR research centre – with enough room for 300 researchers and state-of-the-art equipment. It would be directly linked to the university, acting as both a venue for research and teaching.

Another main feature is the large-scale aquarium, described as a “mini oceanarium”, similar to the one attracting thousands every year in Lisbon.

The marina is planned to boast 140 berths and 63 residential units. There are also plans for a business “incubator” to provide support to start-up maritime companies, a nautical centre, and large areas for “commerce, services and restaurants”.

Hopes are that investors will cover most, or all, of the project’s costs in exchange for the rights to manage the areas they invest in.

Though some public money would be needed – mainly for the CCMAR centre – the rest would be covered by private funds, said Bacalhau, stressing that the project’s €170 million price tag is just an estimate.

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