Hard Rock Moving Forward with Plans for Megacomplex in Northern Spain

Posted on: February 6, 2023, 11:40h. 

Last updated on: February 15, 2023, 05:18h.

Hard Rock International is finally moving forward — a decade after the government of Catalonia, Spain, presented the plans to build the megacomplex, Barcelona World. The project is now in motion, but that doesn’t mean it’s cleared all the obstacles in its path.

Salou sign
A sign welcomes visitors to the Spanish city of Salou. It is one of two cities that could host a megacomplex, including one by Hard Rock International, following budgetary approval by the government of Catalonia. (Image: Dreamstime)

The Generalitat of Catalonia signed an agreement last week for its budget that includes provisions for the project to start construction during the first half of 2023. With the support of the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC, for its Spanish acronym), the authorities agreed to move forward with the final approval process.

The PSC has continuously fought for the project. It expects Barcelona World to generate over €1 billion (US$1.07 billion) in investments and more than 13K jobs during its construction. 

The Hard Rock portion of the project estimates investments worth twice that amount. It includes the construction of a complex with 1,000 rooms, a casino, a shopping center, a 6,000-square-meter (1.48 acres) swimming pool, and space for concerts and other amenities.

But the project could still face setbacks. Environmental groups have previously fought versions of the Master Development Plan (MDP) and are ready to push back against the latest version.

So far, Barcelona World will include everything as initially planned. This includes a casino, hotels, recreational facilities, and restaurants, according to the Spanish media outlet La Vangardia.

Continued Push for Project

In November 2021, during a plenary session of the Parliament of Catalonia, the government rejected a motion that sought to block the project. A group of legislators pushed the government not to purchase the land, but it failed.

At the local level, the news has been received with great satisfaction by local mayors. Many of these local officials have demanded that the government set a deadline to finalize the MDP months’ modification.

Protest Against Project

The main opposition group to the complex, the Aturem Hard Rock platform, recently announced that it will present a judicial appeal of the new MDP. This could still delay the project for several more years.

This past Saturday, the group protested against the project at Hard Rock’s restaurant in the Plaza de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Thirty people protested with banners and flares, and the establishment had to close its doors for a few hours. That was just the start of February’s protests. The activists have organized a series of activities for this month to show their opposition to the project.

Catalonia’s Ministry of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda reviewed the original MDP and determined that it didn’t meet environmental requirements. A new MDP was drafted. But environmentalists still argue that it doesn’t go far enough.