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The plan to convert lighthouses into aground hotels for lack of investors

In four years he has only opened an accommodation in Lugo and the three projects that are still in process are driven by a single German company

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The plan to convert lighthouses into aground hotels for lack of investors

In 2013, in midst of a search for public spending to be cut, those responsible for Ministry of Development believed to find a proposition that investors could not renounce. Who would not want to exploit a luxury hotel on foot of coast, in a beautiful and solitary spot, vetoed to real estate sector and with building already built? With this hook was born program Faros de España, which invites companies to present proposals for hotel use in towers of maritime signaling in disuse that, if accepted, would give way to an administrative concession with a duration of several decades.

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Under command of Ana Pastor, Ministry of Development seemed a perfect plan because state stopped spending money in se precincts and companies were getting performance. But initiative has not gone as expected. The organism ports of state, which figure in 80% of 187 lighthouses of Spain that could have tourist use, admits that "re has been demand that was expected", and it points to economic crisis as a possible cause, according to official sources. Four years later, it has only opened, between a sea of problems, a lighthouse-hotel, that of Isla Pancha in Ribadeo (Lugo), awarded to a local businessman, exdirecting of PP.

After receiving proposal of José Luis López-Braña Freio, Port Authority of Ferrol-San Cibrao gave wings to its processing. However, last May, only one month after receiving its first clients, accommodation was closed down by Ribadeo City Council for irregularities in works and could not be reopened until September. Moreover, after a complaint of neighborhood platform for our lighthouse, which criticizes "privatization of an island closely linked to social and cultural life" of people, Ombudsman has issued two reports in which he censures lack of environmental controls in a Procedure that affects an integrated site in Natura network.

After contest was deserted to make hotel lighthouse of Punta Insua, in Municipality Coruña de Carnota, ports of state cites four or lighthouses in Andalusia, Canary Islands, Asturias and Cantabria that have undertaken voyage to become Exclusive accommodations on a date that no one dares to set. All of m have behind same investor, a German company called Floatel GmbH, which exploits similar businesses in Germany and Italy.

The firm has put eye on maritime Tower of Punta fulfilled, in Canary Island of La Palma, where y are about to begin renovation works to build three suites "almost open" with kitchen and lounge. It also has a project for emblematic lighthouse of Trafalgar, in Barbate (Cadiz), still immersed in formalities prior to concession; And in Cudillero (Asturias), pending only approval of Council of Ministers after garing favorable reports of different agencies. According to Port Authority of Santander, company has presented a proposal for lighthouse of fisherman, in Santoña, although paperwork has not yet started because port still has to approve plan of urban uses of building.

In all se cases, process is being longer and more complex than in Isla Pancha, promoters of projects admit, although from ports of state y argue that no company has been thrown back by bureaucratic "delays". In Canarian Punta fulfilled proposal was presented in July 2015 and Floatel just received work license to reform enclosure, although it was supposed to be fastest project because area "has no environmental protection," explains Olympia Island , architect of firm. In Trafalgar, have lengned during year and a half formalities before Ministry of Culture of Junta of Andalusia by proximity of lighthouse to historic Beacon Tower raised re in 16th century to watch arrival of pirates to coast of Cadiz.

Floatel's interest in Spain began in Majorca. In Balearic Island tried in 2014 to open hotels in six lighthouses but, as German company recounts, criticisms received from different fronts led m to suspend plans. "I don't understand why people see lighthouses plan in Spain negative." These incredible buildings are in very bad shape and you have to rehabilitate m and use m or lose m, says Isla.

The most complex process facing Floatel is that of historic lighthouse of Trafalgar, only project that has had to attend a public tender. "Everything is being supermeticulous, we've sent m photos of nails we're going to use," defends Miguel Ramos, a local partner of Floatel in business, which includes a concession of 30 years plus ten overtime. In addition to converting old lighthouse keepers into hotel rooms, Trafalgar plan includes a "lighthouse and battle Interpretation Center", but has received criticism from environmental organizations because y consider that "denatures and "Privatizes coastline." "We have to flee from presenting this project as a hotel, because people think of Algarrobico and this has nothing to do," Ramos says.

Two new competitions in two places on coast of a Coruña

S. V.

The Port authority of Arousa is sure to have detected among companies "special interest in exploitation of tourist potential" of Galician Lighthouses of Corubeo (Ribeira) and Punta Insua (Carnota), located in two spectacular places of The coast of a Coruña. For this reason, authorities prepare call for public competitions before end of year.

The entity has already brought to competition conversion in hotel of first of se facilities at end of 2016, but call was deserted. According to Port Arousano, with aim of making most attractive concession for companies this time some clauses will be amended, although it does not detail which ones. The deadline for submission of proposals will also be extended. "We consider that deadline of previous competition was perhaps too tight for a concession of se characteristics, especially given that it is a novel area in which re is little background, not only in this port authority, but in All Spain, "y explain from organism."

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