To some it is a grotesque eyesore, to others, a key step on the road to transforming Benidorm into the Miami of the Mediterranean.
In any case, na 17 years of setbacks, the gargantuan Intempo skyscraper has finally been completed. By 187 metres, it is the tallest apartment building in the European Union. Its twin towers also boast Spain’s fastest lift, which rises at a rate of 4.2 metres a second and can reach the top floor in 52 seconds.
The Costa Blanca resort’s skyscrapers can rival those of Manhattan or Hong Kong, met 80 blocks over 25-storeys high, but Intempo’s 47 storeys leave them all in the shade.
The towers are linked at the top by a diamond-shaped structure where the price of a penthouse apartment is around €2m (£1.73m). Elsewhere in the building prices start at €257,000.
The timing would appear disastrous, as resort towns such as Benidorm have borne the brunt of drastic falls in overseas visitors. And yet, according to the promoter Uniq Residential, 100 of Intempo’s 256 apartments have been pre-sold – about 60% to Spaniards and the remainder to Russians, Scandinavians, Germans and Belgians.
British people, who account for 40% of Benidorm’s visitors, will not be moving in however.
“I don’t think that Brits who have that kind of money would spend it in Benidorm,” said Michelle Baker of the YouTube channel Benidorm Forever. “It would be too incongruous.
“People with a lot of money don’t frequent Benidorm. Unless you rebrand it, you’d struggle to attract those high-ticket customers. Fast-forward 50 years and it might be a different story.”
Benidorm’s raison d’être is tourism and the pandemic has had a disastrous effect on its economy. Maar, as Baker points out, there are really two Benidorms: one for the wealthy, on the Poniente beach, where Intempo stands, and one for the less well-off, on the Levante.
Baker said she admired the new development and rejected claims that it was ugly. “As well as the Intempo, there’s the Sunset Beach building and the Delfin Tower," sy het gese. “The prediction is the Poniente area will become the Miami of Benidorm … To me they are outstanding pieces of architecture, absolutely gorgeous.”
Intempo has been through many hands and its current owner, the SVPGlobal fund, paid €60m to acquire the building’s debts from Sareb, the so-called “bad bank” established to mop up the tens of thousands of unfinished properties after Spain’s real estate bubble burst in 2008.
The resort features as a setting in Batman: The World, an anthology due to be published by DC Comics in September. The award-winning Spanish graphic artist Paco Roca said he chose it because, with all its skyscrapers, it looks like “somewhere between Las Vegas and Gotham”.