This week a multidisciplinary team from the American Multinational Paramount Pictures have been in the Region of Murcia working with representatives from Proyectos Emblemáticos to develop the master plan of the projected Paramount Murcia theme and leisure park.
The name of "Paramount Resort" has been mentioned for the first time in the press coverage of the topic recently, which seems a good name so we´ll refer to the park as the Paramount Resort Murcia from now on.
The team visited the proposed location at Alhama de Murcia yesterday, which sits on the corner of the the Autovia between Alhama and the Campo of Cartagena, the 602, a total site comprising some 170 hectares.
At the moment it´s a mixture of cultivated almond and citrus trees, some dead almonds and cleared land, indistinguishable from the fields which surround it.
According to the reports which have come out this week there are a number of options being considered about how the park will be structured.
One thing, however, is certain; that this park will be unlike any other park which currently exists, the focus being on new generation technology, innovation and creating an interactive experience for visitors, a worldwide first.
Scale of the construction elements
The land on option covers 170m hectares.
The park complex itself is anticipated to cover 109 of these, leaving space to amplify the park, car parking or accommodation as required
The main park will cover 36.5-37 hectares, with allocations of between 4.8 and 8.8 for each of four hotel complexes. This will be supported by to parking zones of 45 hectares .
A waterpark of 8.8 hectares could be included in the project
It´s thought at this stage that the park will be roughly the same size as Euro Disney, and the initial plans proposed were for a central park structure with four hotel complexes, each designed to suit varying budgetary requirements surrounding it, very much along the lines of a traditional leisure park structure.
However, other ideas are being considered this week which include amplifying the size of the park structure and locating just one large hotel inside the park structure, and positioning the others slightly further back. Whether this will happen or not depends on the partners involved in the project once the master design is completed; investors from the leisure industry will undoubtedly see revenue in the hotel and resort management business, a separate stream of revenue from the activities within the park complex.
Hotel accommodation is an essential component of making the business viable, and although there are hotel and rental apartment options surrounding the park within the "Paramount triangle" of Alhama, Murcia and Cartagena, the aim will be to keep resident hotel visitors within the park, enjoying the nocturnal attractions and eating within the complex.
At this stage though, Proyectos Emblemáticos are more concerned about getting the structure of the park areas designed and ensuring that the design is dynamic and attractive to investors, rather than rushing at the project and delivering an ill conceived investment plan. Although they´re fully aware of the degree of public interest in this project, getting it right is the key consideration to creating a quality, sustainable project which will attract the investment to make it reality.
Another point which is under consideration is the structure and location of the car parking facilities.
At the moment 45 hectares have been allocated to make 2 parking zones, with a possible third located outside of the main park area, as it is difficult to anticipate the volumes of traffic which will be generated by the park and what form it will take.
The original visitor figures mooted for the park were a target audience of 4.5 million visitors a year, although again, this week figures of 6 million a year have been mentioned as being achievable, several times more than the visitor figures currently enjoyed by the region.
Capacity to cope with 60,000 vehicles in one day is being factored in, with the option to add in a third area should it be considered necessary, and depending on what the volume of domestic users is. It´s anticipated that domestic marketing will be aiming to maximise the potential of both the local spanish market, as well as attracting domestic traffic from within Spain, most of which will be using car transport.
Inevitably there will be a significant volume of "day user traffic" as well as catering for the residential traffic using hotels within the complex.
The main park area is being projected as covering approximately 37 hectares ( 370,000 square metres) and indications are that it will comprise four distinct leisure zones, one of which may be what´s called an interactive fantasy forest.
The principal feature of the park will be the cinematographic products of Paramount Pictures, at the moment it ´s being said that this could be based around the films Lara Croft, Titanic, The Italian Job and Congo, the visitors actually becoming part of the film experience through the use of the latest audiovisual technology.
Of course, none of this will be confirmed until the plans are formally unveiled.
There´s also discussion about whether a waterpark will be included within the complex, adding an additional 8.8 hectares of attractions into the leisure offering. The region already has one waterpark, based at the Terra Natura site on the outskirts of Murcia, but this is only open for the summer months when the demand from tourist visitors is highest, and is always very busy and well used during open time.
Pedro Cruz today said in an interview that the master design will be unveiled at the end of the month, on the 25th March, when Michael Bartok from Paramount Licensing is due to visit the Region.
As of today there is still no definitive information about the structure or design of the park, only speculation as to what it will comprise.
What is for sure, is that this project is definitely taking steps towards becoming a tangible project which could bring the investment into tourism and the impetus required to kickstart the regional economy out of recession.
The side effects of which will be to give a welcome boost to confidence and the creation of employment amongst not only the resident expat community, but also the spanish businesses in the region.
Along with everyone else, we await the presentation of the master design with a great deal of interest.
The full story of the project including present day status can be found by using the link to the history of the Paramount Theme Park Murcia, Click Paramount Theme Park Murcia
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