Plans to expand the existing La Bajadilla fishing port in Marbella and convert it into an ultramodern marina and cruise ship terminal were revealed in 2011 to great enthusiasm. The Marbella Town Hall had been pushing this project for some time, mindful of the boost such a facility and its construction could provide for the local economy and job creation.
The process took firm strides forward when it was reported that the winning bid had been awarded to the development company of the Qatari Sheikh Al-Thani, after whom the new port was to be named. The billionaire’s advantage was his ability to independently finance this huge project, which was hoped create not only a large modern marina and terminal for oceangoing cruise ships, but also foresees the development of designer shopping outlets, restaurants, cafés and a luxury hotel with conference facilities.
After the initial enthusiasm, however, things went decidedly quiet and the sheikh’s company failed to live up to its commitments, both in practical and financial terms which saw it receiving heavy fines. Then, earlier this year, the local authorities announced that they were beginning procedures to rescind the agreement with Al-Thani’s company and offer the port project up to tender again, thereby opening it up to a large queue of new investors and possible design proposals.
It was a move that finally broke the silence and prompted a response from Qatar. Through his delegate in Málaga, the Sheikh confirmed his commitment to the project, assuring the Marbella Town Hall that he will be paying the more than €1.5 million plus fines currently owed, as well as moving ahead to create a management consortium and present the construction plans.
It is believed that he was annoyed by the Andalucian authorities who had said no to the construction of a hotel and shopping center in the port area.
The plans for the new Marbella Marina include a 200m quay for cruise liners and a five-star hotel, new bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets.
The Marbella Marina will have space for 1221 yacht and cruise liners. There will be 858 moorings for yacht, 3 piers for cruise liners, 3 moorings for mega-yachts, 2 for yachts with 125 m length and one of 175 m length. A total of 860 will be in the water and 360 in dry boat storage.
This plan for the new Marbella Marina has been described as “the most important urban development” in Marbella’s history.
Now the project is now “back on track”. After several months of wrangling between Marbella municipality and the Andalucian Regional Government, the parties finally agreed on a timetable for development of the port. It is scheduled to begin next year.