Friday, 21st September 2012
Hotel developer ‘was promised free site’
by Brian Reyes
A UK investor who planned to build a hotel on the site of the Nuffield pool in Rosia Bay was promised the prime site free of charge by the former GSD administration, according to a response to a parliamentary question.
Joe Bossano, Minister for Employment and Inward Investment, said the investor claimed the only condition imposed by the former government was that it paid the cost of relocating the pool, estimated at £1m.
But the company was never given that assurance in writing and has now been told by the new government that it cannot
have the land for free.
Mr Bossano was responding to a question from Opposition MP Damon Bossino, who said the GSD had considered the £50m scheme a positive investment for Gibraltar that would have generated new jobs and income.
Mr Bossano did not identify the investor but said he had met its representative earlier this year. The minister was presented artist impressions of the hotel but no detailed business plan.
“He told me he had been given the run-around by the GSD for years without a straightforward answer,” Mr Bossano said.
“I’m notorious for straightforward answers, so I gave him a straightforward answer.”
Mr Bossano said he was told by the investor that unless the land was provided for free, the project would not work. But the government would not shift on its position that the plot of land would not be assigned free of charge. “If we were offering people land for nothing in Gibraltar, we’d have a long, long queue of investors,” Mr Bossano said.