egged for a first-phase opening in the second quarter of 2010, Gran Scala will occupy 2,025 hectares in Los Monegros, which lies approximately 320 kilometres east of Madrid.
Upon completion, the us$ 17 billion development will house five major theme parks, 32 international hotels and themed casinos forming a “clock history of mankind,” conference centres, leisure space and museums, with an objective of attracting 25 million visitors a year by 2015.
Speaking at Gaming Executive Summit Europe, which took place recently in Madrid, Spain, Jaime Riera, director of Riera y Carreras Asociados, which is advising master developer International Leisure Development on the project, was quick to state that Gran Scala was not an adaptation of the Las Vegas casino model.
"In reality, this is a tourist, amusement and gaming destination that is set to become the most important in Europe," said Riera. "This is a global concept, but we’re not just talking about gaming."
Riera said that, once completed, Gran Scala would dwarf Disneyland Resort Paris in terms of park space. And although Disney’s flagship resort in Orlando, Florida, would retain its title of as the world’s largest recreational facility, the director noted that just 12 million people live within a 300 km radius of Disney World, as opposed to the 23 million people that live in the Madrid/Barcelona/Valencia triangle alone.
At this stage, three of the five theme parks have been confirmed: Spyland, which focuses on the world history of secret agents; the historically-themed Aquantica waterpark; and the futuristic Space Port, which will be devoted to the cosmos and space-age technologies.
Riera explained the reasoning behind the choice of Aragón for this destination: "We have the full support of the local government. The region has a developed infrastructure and is in an ideal location. It has a pleasant climate and is less than one hour from either Mediterranean beaches or ski resorts. It’s very difficult to find a destination anywhere else in Europe that would fulfill these criteria."