2 Jul, 2024 @ 14:33
2 mins read

Squatters block €650m project in Marbella: Plans for luxury Four Seasons hotel are delayed as 60 ‘okupas’ refuse to leave beachfront site

PLANS for a luxury Four Seasons hotel in Marbella are being delayed by a 60-strong group of squatters, it has emerged.

Dozens of men, women and children, mostly from Morocco, have taken over an abandoned campsite that is just 30 metres from the exclusive beachfront.

Speaking to El Mundo, Malaga native Angel Fernandez, who acts as the spokesman for the group, vowed to fight the matter in the courts, setting up a potentially years-long battle for the developers.

READ MORE: Squatter fears in Spain see ‘for sale’ and ‘for rent’ signs taken down outside empty homes

The so-called ‘okupas’ claim they have transformed the site, which was left abandoned since the late 1990s.

Fernandez said that when they arrived, there were ‘rats bigger than dogs’.

Squatter Mohamed Said, 51, from Tangier, said a small group first arrived six months ago to ‘nothing but weeds, broken pipes and collapsing stairs’. 

That group has now ballooned to 60, including multiple single mothers and at least one newborn baby. 

@tardeartv

“No se nos comunicó la causa por la que debíamos acudir al juzgado. Por eso no nos presentamos” #okupas #marbella #camping

? sonido original – TardeAR

Said told El Mundo: “What you see here looked like a jungle, we have already filled 20 barrels with rubble and trash. 

“Tree branches were sticking through the windows. We have cleaned up this place, we have rebuilt the houses as best as we could, it is not fair that they want to throw us out just like that, we have part of our lives here.” 

The squatters live in 18 homes they have created on the site and enjoy direct access to the sea just 30m away. 

Some of them have sunbeds on their terrace, and on the weekends they make good use of their barbecue. 

Mohamed added: “Some people will say that this is luxury. But it is not like that. The luxury is the environment, not this place. We are rich and poor, I always say that, but to anyone who misunderstands me I would switch their reality for ours. Let’s see what they think then!”

Unfortunately for the squatters, the land they are occupying is destined for the planned Four Seasons hotel – which will be the most expensive hotel in Andalucia. 

The plot is owned by Malaga businessman Ricardo Arranz, who also owns the very successful Villa Padierna hotel, also in Marbella. 

He has teamed up with US giant Fort Partners and Belgian real estate company Inmobel. 

They hope the Four Seasons will consist of 130 rooms, 180 private residences and 50 premium villas, as well as an exclusive area on the beach. 

The huge project is set to cost €650million and will create 4,000 jobs, some 750 of them permanent. 

But the plans are now on hold due to the squatter issue, with developers having taken the legal route to evict the okupas. 

The process could take years. The squatters were ordered to appear in court on June 24, but no one showed up. 

Fernandez claimed they were only told by police ‘verbally’ to go to court, adding that he would not send anyone without seeing a signed document first. 

He also insisted all residents there were law-abiding and that none of them were criminals. 

However last week two Moroccan men residing on the plot were arrested for allegedly stabbing a taxi driver while trying to rob him of his mobile phone. The driver needed 30 stitches. 

Most of the residents there are working but claim renting a flat locally is unaffordable – despite some seen pulling up in Audi cars.

Some are Uber drivers while many are cooks, cleaners, hotel workers and bricklayers.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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