The president of the Libertas Group, the comopany that owns 100 hectares in the ??Várzea de Quarteira area, next to Praia dos Tomates, Albufeira, admits that the CCDR-A’s opinion was that the development that was planned there, could not go ahead.
The Sunset Albufeira Sport & Health Resort already had been designed and submitted, but the 1,004 bed proposal was rejected by the Algarve Commission for Regional Coordination and Development due to serious concerns as to the probable environmental impact.
However, the company intends to invest in the area with smaller hotel units and a biological agriculture project on the land which is classified as National Agricultural Reserve.
Funditur, which is owned by Libertas, will take over the management of the beach bar at Praia da Rocha Baixinha Poente, known locally as Praia dos Tomates, after a successful court battle with the incumbent concession holder.
The president of Libertas, António Joaquim Gonçalves, reveals that the Portuguese Environment Agency finally gave back the land to Funditur at the end of last year and the company now will redesign the beach bar, sort out the car park and rethink the entire project.
“Of course now we have to rethink the whole project for the 40 hectares of land that we have in that area, we will have to see what can be done and what is suitable. A new project is sure to take more than a year to come up with. It may involve the rebuilding of the ruins there and the development of a mixed agricultural project with a biological renewable energy source,” said Gonçalves, in an interview with Diário Imobiliário.
Last May, the company was in trouble over allegations of environmental vandalism at Praia dos Tomates.
On Friday, May 11th, 2018, a few days before the start of the new bathing season, an extensive excavation was being carried out, on land leading to the beach.
One local complained: “I was astonished by what I saw on the cliff on the locally named Praia dos Tomates. An excavator was digging and digging, in a protected area near to the cliff,” adding that this work was in a protected area, so represented a crime under environmental legislation. There was no notice board, identifying the owner, the type of building, the construction area, the authorising body, etc, hence the work can be categorised as clandestine.
This is how big property developers behave. See, ‘Clandestine beachside groundworks at Praia dos Tomates, Albufeira‘
Libertas Group, a big developer, currently is involved in a €250 million property development spend, including the creation of luxury developments in Portimão, Lagoa, Albufeira, Loulé (near Quinta do Lago and Quarteira), Faro and Tavira.
The chairman of the Libertas Group’s Board of Directors, considers that the Algarve should position itself as Portugal’s ‘Cote d’Azur.’
“What does the Algarve still need? More events in the low season, from November to March. Culture is essential to attract more people, especially from Central and Northern Europe. Our profile of clients, especially those who come from these areas, like to have a good range of cultural events,” claimed Gonçalves.
At the moment, the Libertas Group is developing several projects in the municipalities of Faro, Albufeira and Lagoa. In Alta de Faro, thie company will complete 96 apartments at the Lux Terrace development, and will open sales in February for the Lux Garden, for delivery at the end of 2020.
In Albufeira, Green Apartments, Green Villas, Design Villas and Albufeira Prime all have apartments in a private condominium in the city centre within walking distance of the beach. In the municipality of Lagoa, the company offers Ferragudo Design Villas.
“So in the Algarve, at the moment, we are working with three Councils, Faro, Albufeira and Lagoa, and I can say that we have not had difficulties in approvals, on the contrary. They are also projects that we are developing within already approved areas and where we already had the infrastructure in, because approval times are elements that often delay us,” said Gonçalves.
The group president also reveals that most of the buyers are foreign: many French, Swedish, Belgian, Swiss and also German and British.
“We are very connected to the francophone market. In general, they are customers who buy products below 350,000 euros in large quantities, and houses below 500,000. Interestingly, of the 96 apartments that we will deliver at the Lux Terrace in Faro, 50% of the clients are Portuguese,” said António Joaquim Gonçalves, adding that many Portuguese are back in the market as they now can access mortgages.
On the so-called real estate bubble, the Libertas chairman believes that there is no such thing going on, “which is not to say that prices may not continue to rise in some places. In the Algarve, there is no bubble, because prices are still very low, considering that in recent years construction prices have risen a lot.”
As for the future of the market, António Joaquim Gonçalves, “I think prices will increase slightly, slightly more than inflation, but I believe a lot in the Algarve and the Lisbon region. And I think the areas of Porto, Aveiro, Figueira da Foz will also perform,” he concluded.