The fate of a controversial luxury apartment complex, overlooking Benidorm’s Levante beach, hangs in the balance following a supreme court order for their demolition.
The iconic, twin towers of Gemolos 28, have dominated the skyline at the Northern point of the Bay of Levante, since they were completed five years ago.
However, the two towers were built in contravention of the coastal, Law of the Costas, a ruling which prevents building projects being constructed too close to the sea.
President of the Valencia Community XimoPuig, who announced the ruling of the Supreme court last week, explained that the Generalitat faces a compensation bill of more than 100 million euros if the action goes ahead.
The supreme court annulled the original 2005, licence given to constructors Terras de l’Horta-Calpe Buildings subsidiary, after completion in 2012.
Five years of legal wrangling ensued, with claims of corruption involving politicians, who issued permits to the construction company to proceed with the development.
Lawyers representing the regional government put forward an appeal in 2017, but this was rejected as inadmissible last week, leaving them no further course of appeal and faced with submitting plans for demolition within three months.
Gemelos 28 is comprised of two identical towers, 22 floors in height, containing 168 luxury apartments, all with spectacular sea views, built a few metres from the sea on a headland known as Punta Llisera in Rincon de Loix area of Benidorm.
Part of the complex was actually constructed in contravention of the maritime-terrestrial coastal law, which forbids building within 20 metres of the sea.
Owners of apartments located in the tall building situated just behind the newly constructed towers brought the complaint to the supreme court, as they were unhappy with the fact that their properties no longer had uninterrupted sea views, consequently diminishing their value considerably.
The majority of Gemolos 28 apartments were sold before the property crisis, at prices ranging from 400,000€ to 700,000€, to which the Valencian government would have to add 20%, when the compensation payments are made to owners
They are also faced with a bill of around 72 million euros in demolition costs for the two towers, as environmental considerations would be involved.
The complex adjoins the protected, natural park of the Serra Gelada and is located only few metres from the ocean, which could also cause damage to marine fauna and flora.
The two buildings actually infringe the coastal law boundaries by a mere four metres, which gives owners of Gemelos 28 hope that the demolition decree will not be executed.
One resident, speaking to the Spanish press dismissed the speculation as nonsense,”For the moment, nobody from the Administration has contacted us to talk about the compensation that would correspond to us”.
“The boundaries could be modified to avoid this ridiculous situation” he said expressing his opinion that “the line demarcation could be adjusted or whatever, but we all have to find a solution,” pointing out that once demolished, the towers could actually be rebuilt four metres further back from the sea completely legally.
This fact was backed up by regional councillor for urban planning, Lourdes Casselles, who told reporters that, “there is no urban problem to rebuild in the area.”
Furthermore, should the developer re-submit plans for the development with four metres difference, “all the permits and licenses to build are in place, providing construction respects the public domain and the established buildability of the project,” said the Casselles.