The new Marbella Port Al-Thani at the La Bajadilla marina is looking doubtful.
Marbella's fishing port, La Bajadilla, was planned to be transformed into a new sleek, high-tech marina, aiming squarely at the very top end of the market. It will considerably expand the capacity of the existing port, allowing more, and larger, luxury cruise-liners, as well as private yachts, to dock at the glamorous seaside town, favourite of celebs the world over.
Qatari Sheik, Abdullah Ben Nasser Al-Thani, who was also owner of Málaga Football Club, was to invest 400 million euros in the new port. The project features a circular pier with a 200-metre quay for cruise liners, a five-star hotel on the marina, as well as bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets. All of this will revamp the eastern area of the city, bringing La Bajadilla in line with famous Puerto Banus in the west.
The project was being called the most important urban development in Marbella's history. Port Al-Thani, situated at the north-eastern entrance to the town, will more than double Bajadilla's current capacity. The marina will accommodate 860 boats, of varying sizes from 175-metre mega-yachts to smaller boats, while a 200-metre pier in the outer part of the marina, connecting directly with the inner harbour (see video, below), will allow three liners to dock and put passengers ashore in Marbella. The port will also have parking for more than 1,000 cars. Puerto Banus, currently one of the most fashionable ports in southern Spain, will be just the other side of town, with the equally desirable but more discreet Sotogrande, further west along the coast.
By 2012 certain planning step obligations had not been carried out and this has resulted in a number of fines imposed by the regional government. The Sheiks corporate capital investment has been reduced from 21m€ to 4m€ and a new plan was resubmitted EPPA the regional port authorty. It is assumed to be a fraction of the size as the one described above and shown in the promotional video. Marbella town council supports the project. Judging by the press stories of non cooperation it looks like the regional goverment is playing 'hard ball' with the investors who in turn a used to helpful treatment from authorities.
By 2015, the year of the project completion according to the original launch material, there was little prospect of the new port in the near future. The Malaga mercantile court has embargoed the company for unpaid architect bills. On the positive side the Consejería de Medio Ambiente renewed their permission as long as a canon was paid by 31 July 2016 and the works start 7 September 2017.
In early August 2016 the document and fee were not received by the Junta de Andalucia, Consejería de Medio Ambiente who anounced that they had served a cancelation notice on the consession. Marbella town hall who held a nominal 4% shares in the development company has said that there are other promotors interested in a similar project.