Disney Veteran to Build $3.5-Billion Paradise City in Spain’s Extremadura Region

The mega resort will feature casino gambling, diverse entertainment options, and a Formula One track, among other facilities

Former Disney Vice President John Cora announced yesterday that his Cora Global development company would build a $3-plus-billion mega resort in the Spanish region of Extremadura. The property will occupy a 1,200-hectare site in the town of Castilblanco.

Prior to founding Cora Global Concepts in Southern California in 2006, Mr. Cora had served as Vice President of The Walt Disney Company in the period between 1963 and 2001 and as Vice President of Disneyland Resort between 1984 and 2001. He was among the main proponents for the construction of a EuroDisney theme park in Spain. The project eventually landed in Paris.

News emerged on Monday that Mr. Cora’s real estate development company is now looking to build an integrated resort in the Extremadura region. The property will feature casino gambling, among other entertainment activities. The implementation of the massive scheme was made possible under a recently approved regional law, Ley Extremeña de Grandes Instalaciones de Ocio (LEGIO), that offers tax incentives to gaming venues that are established as part of larger development projects.

During a Monday press conference, Mr. Cora together with Extremadura President Guillermo Fernández Vara provided more details about the multi-billion-dollar project.

Elysium City

Borrowing from Greek mythology, Mr. Cora and his company aim to develop a true paradise on 1,200 hectares of land. The integrated resort project will be carried out in two phases. Now as Cora has received approval from the Extremadura government, construction work on the first phase is expected to begin within the next six months. Developers are targeting 2023 completion of phase one. The second phase is expected to be finalized by 2028.

Phase one of Elysium City will feature an 18-hole golf course, a football stadium with capacity for 40,000 spectators, a three- and a five-star hotels, a casino, a small marina, an adventure water park, and a theme park, among other amenities. Cora said yesterday that it would invest around $1.5 billion in the first phase of its ambitious project. That original stage of the plan is expected to create around 15,000 new jobs. There is still no information on who will operate the casino portion of the mega resort.

The amount of $2 billion will be spent on phase two and it will involve the construction of more hotels, residential towers, floating islands, a larger marina, a convention center, a Formula One track, among others. As mentioned earlier, construction is expected to be completed in 2028. The second phase will create between 40,000 and 50,000 new jobs, according to early projections.

The Elysium City’s official website reads that it will be “the first major smart sustainable city project in Europe planned and built from scratch, considering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN” and the largest of its kind on an international scale.

Developers did not provide information where financing for the project would come from, but said that they have begun their search for financial backers.

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