Cordish Companies Bolsters Bid for $2.4 Billion Resort Outside Madrid

Posted on: May 6, 2017, 08:36h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2017, 08:36h.

Cordish Companies remains determined to build a $2.4 billion casino and hotel resort outside the Spanish capital, Madrid. If it gets the go ahead, it would be one of the biggest foreign investment projects in Spain in many years.

David Cordish woos Madrid
David Cordish, chairman and CEO of Cordish Companies, whom Donald Trump “fell in love” with when he tried to sue him. (Image: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)

But the Baltimore-based property developer’s initial proposal was rejected by Spanish authorities two months ago. Officials were dismayed by an internal assessment that found, should the project go ahead, the government would have to invest more than $370 million building roads and railway connections to the resort.

On Thursday, Cordish fired back a revised proposal that promises to pick up the tab for any required investment in local infrastructure.

It also eagerly emphasizes the non-gaming amenities of a complex it promises will be “Europe’s largest offer of resort style hotels, gastronomy, all kinds of entertainment, shops and events for residents, families, tourists, congresses and conventions.”

Madrid’s Beach

Speaking to the the UK’s Financial Times on Friday, company Chairman and CEO David Cordish described his vision for a giant artificial lagoon that he believes will act as “Madrid’s beach,” much needed, since the city is a good 200 miles from the coast.  

“It’s a 15-acre lake, which is perpetually cleaning itself, the water is crystal clear and blue,” he enthused. “We are putting in a full beach. It will be Madrid’s beach.”

Gambling will account only for around 10 to 15 percent of the total project, he explained to the FT. Meanwhile, non-gaming amenities will include a “World Soccer Hall of Fame Museum,” nightclubs, cinemas and an esports arena.

The proposal has garnered an extra dimension of interest in the Spanish press due to Cordish Companies’ close ties to the Trump administration.

A family business spanning four generations, David Cordish’s son, Reed Cordish, is Trump’s assistant for intergovernmental and technology initiatives and is a member of the White House’s America Innovation, an office headed by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Litigious and Love-Struck

Trump and David Cordish are firm friends, having initially met and fallen in love over a lawsuit. Trump tried unsuccessfully to sue the latter in 2004 when Cordish won a deal to build the Hard Rock Hollywood and the Hard Rock Tampa casino resorts for the Seminoles in Florida.

Trump wanted the deal himself and hoped to win millions in damages, but when the two actually met they “fell in love in about two minutes,” in the words of the current President of the United States.

Casino developers have for some time had designs on the Madrid area. Sheldon Adelson once had his heart set on a $30 billion resort complex that was to be known as “Euro Vegas,” comprising six casinos and 12 hotels, not to mention shopping arcades, golf courses and everything else Vegas has to offer, short of helicopter tours of the Hoover Dam.

But Adelson’s LVS huffily pulled out of the project when it became clear that the Spanish government would not grant concessions such as lower tax-rates on gambling and exemption from anti-smoking laws.