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Posted by portugalpress on May 16, 2018

The €180 million project to build a luxury resort in Benagil, Lagoa is in new hands and in need of investors. So says a report by Expresso newspaper, which has revealed some new details about the development.

The project was initially launched in 2007 by Inland, a group owned by Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira, which eventually handed the plots of land over to BES (Banco Espírito Santo), and now is in the hands of FIMES Oriente, a fund held by Novo Banco. The project is led by Benagil Promoção Imobiliária.

But as Expresso points out, the group in charge of developing the project has equity of nearly €53 million, meaning additional investment will be needed if the resort is to become a reality.

Construction is to begin next year and last around 10 years. The resort will be built just 300 metres away from the coast and will include a hotel, tourist village and apart-hotel.

The project’s environmental impact study is currently available for public consultation until June 14, giving everyone a chance to speak out about the plans.

According to the document, the resort is expected to add 1,279 tourist beds to the region's total and create 312 jobs. It will occupy a 24-hectare area.

The project also involves the replacement of part of the 1273 municipal road as well as improvements between Caramujeira and Benagil. Two public car parks will also be built near Benagil beach.

The development is also included in Lagoa’s municipal master plan (PDM).

When Inland announced it in 2007, the project was given the status of a project of national interest (PIN).

But as Expresso explains, this decision was meant to facilitate the licensing project but was of little use given the economic crisis that erupted and the fact that Inland had other substantial investments in Brazil.

The development led Inland to be audited by fiscal authorities in January 2016, according to Expresso, due to loans taken out by Benagil SA in the fiscal year 2012.

That year, the company received a €6.6 million loan from BES and a further €4.1 million loan from Inland, both of which were used to acquire land, carry out studies and projects and repay other loans.

But BES’ exposure was proved to be considerably higher according to a list of the bank’s largest debtors, which Expresso published at the end of 2015.

Benagil SA alone was funded by BES to the tune of €48 million. In total, Luís Filipe Vieira’s ‘real estate empire’ had debts amounting to €381 million to BES, including other large-scale tourism ventures that were awarded PIN status by the government of José Sócrates, such as the Verdelago Algarve (which BES financed to the tune of at least €18 million).