Article by Scarlet Jenkins
BRITISH company Intu, which is set to open a resort ‘like no other’ in Torremolinos, has been described as ‘critical’ as it faces a €5 billion debt mountain.
The shopping centre giant is currently at a ‘critical phase’ in discussions with its lenders.
Intu owns 17 shopping malls in the UK, including the Trafford Center and Lakeside, with an average of 35 million customers a year according to its website.
The Torremolinos resort, located north of the Palacio de Congresos, will provide, ’a new kind of retail resort,’ with sports facilities, two hotels, an aquarium, and over 70 restaurant locations.
Intu is currently tackling a €5 billion debt mountain, and an insolvency process is expected soon because of closed down sites refusing to pay rent during lockdown.
The Torremolinos site, expected to open in 2023, got local approval from the General Urban Planning department back in October 2019, and was expected to start construction this year.
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Intu has already had to sell shares in other projects in Spain to fund the resort, offloading 50% of its shares at its locations in Zaragoza and Asturias, forcing the company to look for partners to fund the upcoming Torremolinos location.
Intu Costa del Sol, expected to cost €850 million, is promising to bring together ‘international brands and global visitors,’ according to its chief executive Matthew Roberts, including stores such as El Corte Ingles, Zara, and Primark.
It has also vowed to provide jobs for unemployed local people with some 600 jobs expected to be created.
With the UK possibly losing a third of its hospitality industry due to the pandemic, industry leaders are hoping to strike a rent deal with restaurants, cafes and bars affected, such as Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero.
The ‘National Time Out Plan’ would allow companies to pay reduced rent depending on turnover after reopening.
However with only 40% of first quarter’s rent being paid in March, and even less expected in the second quarter, according to Thisismoney.co.uk, Intu is likely to be in an uncertain position for the foreseeable future.