Sonae Group plans to invest «several million» in tourism and real estate in Lagos

The Sonae Group will invest "several million" euros in Lagos over the next five years, mainly in the real estate sector, according to […]

The Sonae Group will invest «several million» euros in Lagos over the next five years, mainly in the real estate sector, according to the protocol that was signed this Thursday by the mayors of the Chamber, Júlio Barroso, and of the group, Belmiro de Azevedo.

Part of these investments, which sources linked to the process say may reach 150 to 200 million euros, will advance now, but the lion's share – the completion of the so-called Torres Crotália, two concrete skeletons that have been crumbling the Ponta area for 30 years. da Piedade – will only advance when there are market guarantees, as revealed by Belmiro de Azevedo.

As two unfinished towers, One inheritance that the Sonae Group received when it bought Torralta and that mayor Júlio Barroso classified as “a cancer”, should give way to a luxury hotel with 150 rooms, as can be seen in the main image that illustrates this article. Belmiro de Azevedo that Troiaresort Investimentos Imobiliários SA's project for the towers involves "lowering the height [from the 20 floors that were originally planned to be at 10] and giving a new coat to the outside". The buildings will be joined into one and will have “facades at all levels, swelling in width and reducing height”.

But what Troiaresort, a Sonae Group company, will do with the two towers depends on “who our neighbors will be”, warned Belmiro. "Let's wait for what kind of projects are going to improve or negatively contaminate, nobody knows what will happen around them".

The mayor of Lagos would later allay Belmiro de Azevedo's fears, saying that the neighborhood of the current Torres Crotália is constituted by Cascade, one of the «best resorts in the world».

As for the term of what will be Sonae's biggest investment in Lagos, and despite the protocol signed yesterday between the City Council and the business group stipulates a maximum period of five years for it to proceed, Belmiro warned: «it will be five years if there are market conditions. If the evidence is: there are no customers, it will have to be renegotiated».

As mayor Júlio Barroso admitted, “the protocol is not an immediate investment, it is setting the parameters for the development of the various assets of the Sonae Group in Lagos”. "We are not waiting for them to start now," admitted the mayor.

But, in any case, part of the investments will move forward immediately. The protocol signed yesterday provides for the exchange of the so-called “Land of Raquete”, integrated in the block occupied by the Hotel Aqualuz, which belongs to the Sonae Group. The land will be used to close the building of this hotel, protecting the indoor outdoor area, where the pool and gardens are, from the north wind, and also creating public parking, which will then be operated by the municipality.

Another investment that is already advancing is the expansion of the current Continente hypermarket in Cerro das Mós, an expansion that was also defined in the protocol and which mainly involves the creation of more underground parking, transferring some services currently located in the basement to the surface.

The decision to expand the hypermarket is also the result of Sonae's withdrawal from the project to create another store, in a four-storey building also with housing, in the Baluarte plot, next to the walls of Lagos, in an area of ​​great traffic and congestion. hard access.

Sonae's project for this building with shop and housing, with a total of four floors in a sensitive area of ​​the city, was rejected by the Câmara de Lagos, even following the public protest that was generated, which involved a petition.

Sonae, through its subsidiary Imobiliária da Cacela SA, owner of the Baluarte land, appealed this municipal decision to the Administrative and Fiscal Court of Loulé, but the protocol now provides for the company to withdraw from the lawsuit.

The land, located in a central area of ​​Lagos, next to the walls and one of the old bastions, will now be transferred to the municipal domain and a landscaped car park will be created in it, for whose works Sonae will also contribute 120 thousand euros.

Júlio Barroso said that, although the works are not yet ready, the Baluarte land will already function as a parking lot next summer. It will be the «first demonstration of good understanding between the parties», between Câmara de Lagos and the Sonae Group, since the deed that formalizes the transfer of ownership of the land will only be made «within a few months», added the mayor.

Barroso stressed that the protocol signed this Thursday is "an agreement of understanding between two entities that, in order to be successful, are condemned to get along well."

The mayor considered the protocol and the investments he foresees “very good for Lagos”. «It took a long time, there were advances and setbacks, things that we said no, the Sonae Group resorted to the courts, but this action will end», he summed up.

And what does Júlio Barroso expect from this document that summarizes the intentions of one of the largest business groups in the country for the municipality of Lagos? “We want it to generate contamination across the entire economic fabric. Being the group that it is, it will certainly attract attention. We hope that it serves as an example, that others try to find out whether it is worth investing in Lagos or not». In a context of deep crisis, in which investment, especially in tourism and real estate, is almost reduced to zero, the protocol of intentions signed with Sonae can be a sign of hope.

But, as Belmiro de Azevedo warned several times, the lion's share of the investment will only advance “if there are market conditions” for this. Júlio Barroso, who has been negotiating with Sonae for years, fears “that there may not be investment, but it is already very good that there are conditions for investment”.

In any case, stressed the mayor, just yesterday the Sonae Group delivered the projects. "Without approved projects, there is no licensing and without licensing there is no investment," he said.

"I would be happier if they told me they are starting tomorrow, but we have to be realistic," admitted Barroso.

Despite the precautions, Belmiro de Azevedo expressed his confidence in the future of Lagos, which he says he has known since 1962 or 1963, and where he has a holiday home.

In such a way that the businessman expressed his willingness to «help Lagos become the capital of anything», perhaps «implement a business school here» or an «entrepreneurship center». Who knows if not a branch of Porto Business School, as Júlio Barroso immediately suggested.

As for the national economy and when asked by journalists about whether they believe in its recovery, Belmiro de Azevedo said that these are not “acts of faith. I do everything I can to help [the country] out of the crisis».


The margin

Crotália Towers – Sonae's project for the former Crotália Towers, which Belmiro de Azevedo classified as a «farol negative» in one of the noble areas of the municipality of Lagos, involves the construction of a restaurant on the top floor of the future building. It will be a panoramic restaurant, with an unobstructed view of the Bay of Lagos, which will be open to the entire public, not just guests of the future hotel.

Emigrants and travelers – Belmiro de Azevedo, Sonae Group's top boss, stressed that “people can only work where there is a job”. Therefore, if it is necessary to emigrate, then let him emigrate. But the entrepreneur suggested that, instead of the word "emigrant", which was given a "negative" meaning, the word "traveler" should be used. "The word emigrant has nothing pejorative, but it was given that meaning," he said.

Make for the world - Speaking to journalists about the situation in the country, Belmiro de Azevedo said: "if we want to be a country, we have to manufacture for the world." "Here's an excellent sentence to finish off," he concluded.