ran Scala was presented more than two years ago. Nowadays, the construction should have started in Monegros. Which is the problem?
Everything goes well. At the beginning of the development of a project, problems necessarily arouse, but considering the magnitude of this project, we can say that everything goes well. We can be satisfied, not a 100%, because we wish everything was faster. However, it is necessary to do the job well, with professionalism, and that takes time.
So much delay causes that many people fear that the project is dead.
No, no. The project is not dead, however, it is normal that some people are skeptical or even oppose to the project. When Walt Disney created Disneyland, it happened the same. It is the usual thing. But there are no reasons to believe that.
Has ILD ever thought in desisting from installing in Aragon?
Absolutely not. On the contrary. We have already achieved the most difficult part. We have bought the land and the government has approved the law to develop our project. Right now, we are doing all we need to continue making progress.
Do you keep on working, then?
For sure. We are developing several studies, which are complicated. For example, once we have arranged the orography of the land; we have adapted the master plan and have modified our initial plans. Right now, we are working on the technical details. We are forced to do things right. We are also pending of others.
Does the consortium still have contacts with the DGA?
Of course. We have recently made a presentation to the counsellor of the Industry.
So, Is ILD still interested in developing the leisure and gaming complex in Monegros?
We are less interested than two years ago, but we will be more interested in six months. If we have invested time and money, we will not desist when everything is about to start.
The government approved last year a very strict law for the installation of Gran Scala. Will ILD be capable of complying all the requirements demanded by the norm, among them, 3,000 jobs, a 1,000-hectare land and a 8,000-room hotel?
There won’t be any problems. The employments respond to the size of the complex and are calculated more or less to respond to the needs of a project of this type. It doesn’t mean that the law is very strict in those conditions, it is simply realistic, according to the importance of the project. It is also demanded a first guarantee of 3 million, followed by another of 6. We do not have any problem in this sense. The financial part is assured.
Do you have financing, in spite of the economic crisis?
The guarantee that the government demand us is not an important amount as part of the whole project.
However the crisis would have affected the attraction of investors.
It is true that the crisis has done harm, but it has also benefited us. It has caused the suspension of Dubailand project, our main competitor. And the investors interested in that complex are now looking at us. Besides, and although it may seem surprising, 2009 has been an excellent year for the sector in Spain.
Has the new design of the complex reduced its size?
No, not at all. It is just a reorganization. The initial layout in circles has been eliminated and everything has been put around a big central street that will cross the complex from one end to the other.
But the center would just open with eight casinos and three parks, when, at the beginning, many more were planned. Are there any problems to find operators?
The number of the casinos is still being discussed, but there will be 8,000 machines. No matter if there will be five, eight or 12 venues. Besides, we are having a good progress in this field. In a few weeks, we will sign important agreements. There will be three theme parks, but very powerful. We are selecting big brands. There are top-level firms. The one dedicated to the cinema will be not only an European, but also a worldwide reference.
Are you negociating with Paramount?
We are negotiating with a big Hollywood studio, but so far we can only say that the brand will be a great studio.
Is there any agreement signed with any operator?
No, we have preliminary agreements. There are brands that have shown their interest in installing and they are developing their project right now. Once they have concluded, we will agree on the type of investment, its implementation, and we will sign the definite contract.
When will you present the project and all the documents to the government?
We trust that it will be presented in May. We have just finished the preliminary masterplan and we are performing an environmental impact study to write the project.
The consortium has already paid two installments to book the land in Ontiñena. Will you but more land?
No, we will not acquire more land so far, because we do not need it immediately.
Will you buy another quantity in June, even the project still does not start?
According to the agreements we signed so far, we will continue paying in installments. At the beginning, there was also people that said that we would not but the land, that we would not pay, and reality has shown that they were wrong.
ILD hired some huge offices in Zaragoza, but they are empty. Nobody works there.
Each member of the consortium works where it is more effective. Nowadays, we do not need to work from there.
The deadlines to start the development have repeatedly been missed. Do you dare set a new deadline?
It would be perfect if we could start in Autumn. However, it all depends on the speed in which the studies will be performed. The construction can just start once the studies are concluded. These will let us know precisely what developments have to be performed.
When would the complex open?
Nowadays, 2012 is clarly impossible. The most plausible deadline would be at the beginnings of 2014, but it will depend on the technical difficulties we may find during the construction.