The Siesta apartments, | A. GINARD

As propositions go for an apartment to buy to be lived in all year, 249,000 euros for a place in Bellevue might seem reasonable, assuming this is a two-bedroom apartment. This said, Bellevue occupies the same development, originally known as Urbanización Bellavista, as the Siesta Apartments. A quick look at Idealista’s website, and one finds a top-price of 228,000 euros for a two-bedroom apartment in the Siestas, which does actually sound like a rather optimistic price - two others are 50,000 euros cheaper.

The Siestas are for residential, all-year use, if owners so wish. Siesta One has an AT tourist apartments registration, but the other two do not; any tourist letting is illegal. In strict comparative terms, therefore, a quarter of a million is overpriced. But then one isn’t comparing like with like. The talk about Bellevue putting apartments up for sale has mentioned the fact that one would hand over 249,000 euros for the privilege of using it for no more than two months a year. From what I can see from the website, there is no specific mention of two months. “You can decide how and when you want to use your apartment.” Ok, I will decide. Twelve months a year, please.

I don’t dispute that there is a two-month limit, though. Alcudia town hall knows this to be the case, the mayor, Fina Linares, having herself raised the question as to why anyone would pay this sort of money for just two months a year. And why two months rather than, say, one month or three months? I’m guessing, but two months cropped up in the 2012 tourism law.

Article 35 - ‘Co-owned or shared tourist accommodation establishments or other similar ways of operating tourist accommodation establishments’ - refers to the possibility of existing or newly created tourist accommodation establishments being set up under the system of horizontal property (which basically means flats) so long as they are strictly subject to principles of exclusive tourist use. “Under no circumstances may owners make residential use of the different accommodation units. For the purposes of this law, residential use shall be considered (to be) ... a period greater than two months per year.”

Bellevue isn’t classified as a hotel - it is tourist apartments - but it isn’t covered by the regime above. Linares, a former tourism councillor, knows this. Another ex-tourism councillor, Joan Gaspar Vallori of the opposition PSOE party, knows this, and even Bellevue knows this, as it has recognised that the necessary permits don’t at present exist for the sale of studios and apartments.

According to Bellevue representatives, they are only in the process of testing the market. And how are they doing this? Via a website that has essentially rebranded Bellevue as ‘BlueBay Aqua Resort Mallorca’. This states: “Reforms (sic) and works 2022-2023-2024. Date of completion 2025.” There’s a load of the usual marketing spiel and even the enticement of the BlueBay Aqua Jurassic Venture Park for an investment in “a dream place where dreams come true”.

Let’s be fair to BlueBay. They have ploughed money in. Bellevue is vastly better than it was. However, one can apply only so much lipstick to a pig. Tell you what. Let’s buy this place and go at a time when Spanish students are creating merry hell. Or maybe in the quieter (cheaper) months of the season when the touristic economy class is taking full advantage of all-inclusive. High summer tourism is generally nice. Lovely family tourism. No issues. But at other times?

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Then there are the faults with the urbanisation - the lamentable infrastructure, the idiotic parking, the risks posed by all the holidaymakers having to walk on roads that are ill-suited to the volume of traffic. But there is more. Town hall technical personnel have not only confirmed to the mayor that commercialisation of the type being proposed would be “irregular”, they have also highlighted the fact that “there are several demolitions pending”. I’d say. These have been pending ever since the year 2000 when urban planning regulations opened the door “to legalise” parts of the complex but which were then followed by modifications which prevented this.

Joan Vallori reckons, and he may well be right, that there is an anticipation that the tourism law which the new Partido Popular government will be drafting will facilitate a combination of residential and tourist use. Well, my reading of the 2012 law is that this possibility already exists (or did exist), subject to classification and the relevant authorisations.

Fundamentally, though, one comes back to the asking price. An investor wishing to make his or her dreams come true will be able to enjoy an apartment in a complex that is fifty years old (which originally was all meant to have been time share) for two months and then get income from the rest of the year. Well, at best that would be five months. And what might the management fees be?
However one dresses it up, this is Bellevue. A quarter of a million euros ... ?

Puerto Pollensa contamination... Same old story

A Bulletin reader has lamented the fact that a red flag was raised at Albercuix beach in Puerto Pollensa because of water contamination. How can this be in “such a beautiful and seemingly prosperous resort” in 2023? He discovered a mention three years ago of deficiencies in waste water pipes.

Well, I can tell him it goes back longer than three years. Time was when this page seemed to have a Puerto Pollensa contamination story on a weekly basis. One might suggest that things have actually got better. But unfortunately, not so better that the problems have ceased.

In the recent past, there have been two reports into the condition of the Bay of Pollensa - one was commissioned by the town hall. These didn’t focus solely on contamination, but it was a factor. It may be recalled that an intention of the report for the town hall was to apply for European funds to facilitate a fundamental overhaul of the waste water network.

Then there was the comprehensive document drafted by the now defunct Junts Avançam at the town hall for revision of the network and for general improvements. What has happened to either or both of these? The new administration under Martí March needs to make clear how it intends putting an end to the problems once and for all.