THE highly controversial development known as ‘Manhattan’ will finally go ahead as planned in Cullera (Valencia Province) despite a court sentence against it.

Now 17 years old, the project includes the construction of several skyscrapers – hence the project’s nickname – and nearly 5,000 houses next to the mouth of the Xuquer river.

Landowners in the La Bega-Port area plan to build 33 towers of 25 storeys for private housing, plus another two skyscrapers of 40 floors each for hotels, over a surface of 610,340 square metres.

The local council this week announced that a recent court ruling annulling the coastal infrastructure development scheme – known as Pativel – will not affect the plans.

The site of the future Cullera 'Manhattan'
The site of the future Cullera ‘Manhattan’

Spokespeople for the local government insist that their intentions remain unchanged from when the Pativel was authorised, describing the huge development as ‘sustainable, environmentally friendly and modern’.

Cullera council, with a socialist PSPV majority, claims that the cancellation of the Pativel does not affect the ‘Manhattan’ as all the permits and development plans for the project have already been approved.

Environmental groups such as Ecologistas en Accion have vehemently opposed the project since it was initially announced in 2003.

According to the organisation, the ‘Manhattan’ would destroy ‘the only stretch of coast in Cullera that has not yet been covered in cement’, plus pointing out the ‘absurdity’ of building thousands of new houses when there are already many empty properties and abandoned patches of wasteland all around the town.  

Ecologistas highlight the lasting ‘financial and environmental’ damage caused by the Valencian building bubble that popped in 2008, asking whether a new mega development is really the way forward. 

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