La Fortalesa, coastal heritage

La Fortalesa, coastal heritage.

23-04-2021CATI CLADERA - sb - EFE - EFE

Surprisingly quiet. The news that the Reuben brothers' vast real-estate portfolio includes 165 hectares and 3.5 kilometres of coastal territory in Pollensa - the Coves Blanques finca - has not been greeted with the howls of opposition that might have been expected.

The usual suspects are perhaps biding their time. Even so, I would have anticipated some statements of outrage: more foreign ownership of Pollensa's coastal heritage to be added to La Fortalesa, to which access is limited to the holding of celebrity weddings and the filming of BBC and Netflix series.

Mayor Cifre has been making common cause with Mayor Galan of Arta, where a 120-hectare estate in Betlem is similarly Reuben-owned. Mayor Galan has said that he can't understand the purchase operation. "There is no possibility for building." Of Coves Blanques, Tomeu Cifre has declared: "I don't know what their intentions may be. Town hall regulations don't allow anything, not even a private home."

The finca is governed by the ANEI regulation. An area of special natural interest, it therefore has the same status as various other sites in Mallorca. In the northern area, these include Albufera, Albufereta, the Puig de Maria in Pollensa, the Puig de Sant Martí in Alcudia, La Victoria, and Sa Canova by Son Serra de Marina. ANEI grants protected status at a level below that of a nature park (which also applies to Albufera).

Cifre has explained that the finca falls within the Tramuntana Mountains "paratge natural", which isn't the same as a nature park but does have its own regulatory provisions. There is also a hiking route, the Camí de Coves Blanques, also known as the Camí dels Presos; it was built by Republican prisoners. This is listed in Pollensa's municipal catalogue of ways. Cifre says that he hopes to be able to reach an agreement with the new owners regarding continuing access.

The questions have been asked by more than just the mayors of Arta and Pollensa as to why the Reubens would have wanted these estates. There can be no substance to the suggestion that the Reubens have been denied planning permission, as they (and their advisors) would have been fully aware of the regulations. When you're as fabulously wealthy as the Reubens, you don't go chucking around your money without having carried out in-depth due diligence. Besides, no permission has been sought; you wouldn't hear the end of it if there had been.

So, what is the reason? Something to do with tax; revenue from hunting (Cifre has said that he believes that the finca is registered for big game); agricultural exploitation - the mayor notes that there is no pre-existing construction but that an agricultural building is possible; a mission for conservation; or anticipation of a political change and a revision of regulations to facilitate development?

The latter of these is the one most being mentioned, but personally I can't see this ever happening. The regulatory framework is extremely tight. It would take years to unravel, even if there were to be the intention to dismantle this framework, and I doubt that any political party would contemplate this. The public outcry would be massive. One just has to think of the great opposition to the project for a hotel complex near Es Trenc beach to appreciate how strong public opinion can be.

Who can say what the reason is. One thing's for sure, though, there isn't about to be the equivalent of certain Reuben-owned properties rising up on the Coves Blanques finca. A Millbank Tower there will not be.

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marinero / Hace 9 months

If it had been possible to develop the property, a Majorcan would have done it years ago. The Reuben brothers see it as a good long term investment and I am sure they are right, when you have that much money, you are not looking for quick profits.

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