Valencia, Spain – A City with the Wind in its Sails

Posted by Michel Cruz — May 1, 2007

Between 3rd April and 7th July 2007, the Spanish city of Valencia is being the spotlight of international attention, as the world follows the final act in the battle for the most prestigious contest of the seas¾the America's Cup. For the first time in the event’s proud 150-year history, this supreme test of sailing ability is being fought out in European waters, creating a flurry of activity and excitement that can be felt throughout the region.As the first continental European team to win the America’s Cup, 2003 Champions Alinghi should by rights have been defending their title in front of a home crowd, but as is a landlocked country it cannot provide the conditions required for the event. As a result, a new venue had to found within a reasonable radius, and naturally the sunny Mediterranean Sea beckoned. More than 160 cities applied for the honor of being the first European port to host the America’s Cup, an indication of just how big a deal it is out here. In the end, was picked out of a final selection of four that also included Lisbon, Naples and Marseille. The Spanish won out over the Portuguese, Italians and French because of reliable summer breezes that produce excellent sailing conditions for what is already shaping up to be a truly memorable occasion.Situated along ’s east coast, the Mediterranean city of Valencia is the country’s third largest, with more than three quarters of a million inhabitants. Settled in ancient times, this is a city with a rich history and a proud seafaring tradition. Trade, fishing and shipbuilding brought wealth, illustrated today in classical boulevards lined with elegant Baroque buildings and impressive churches. But does more than look to its past alone; as one of the dynamos of Spain’s fast growing economy, it is a rapidly expanding city that embraces the future. Modern housing estates and, office blocks and logistic parks reflect the new Valencia, but nowhere is it more evident than at the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias, a stunning Natural Science theme park designed by award-winning architect Santiago Calatrava.With commerce, industry, technology and property development driving rapid growth, this was not exactly a city languishing in the dumps, but even so news of hosting the 2007 America’s Cup has given and the entire region surrounding it a visible boost. In the city, activity has increased further, as huge infrastructural investment projects are adding to a healthy development in real estate. Along the Costa Blanca—the traditional second-residence region that spread southwards down the coast from Valencia—pretty small towns, such as Javea, are at the heart of an area that is always positively affected by the America’s Cup.Property boonIt is more than just the anticipation of millions of visitors during the America’s Cup that is spurring on this development. The world’s greatest sailing race has put and its surroundings on the global map, highlighting the attractive climate, coastline and fascinating culture to a far greater audience than ever before. “Traditional demand for property from people across Europe and beyond makes this an already investment’s destiny area, but naturally the America’s Cup has only added to it,” says José Ribes, Director of Inmobiliaria Rimontgó, member of Luxury Real Estate in Valencia and Costa Blanca. “We’re very happy that the demand for both new and resale properties comes primarily from end-users, but the region does, of course, also offer excellent prospects to investors.”“One of the results has been an increase in quality,” says Ribes. “Not just in the construction and detailing of the properties themselves, but also in the provision of first-class services. As a result, the number of luxury hotels, health and beauty spas, fine dining restaurants and of numerous other services has increased too.” In anticipation of the many affluent visitors who will be flying in, renting villas and staying aboard their own luxury yachts, Rimontgó is providing a range of hospitality services specially tailored to exclusive clients. “After all, as specialists in the higher end of the market, we have experience in this field. Naturally it is a public relations and marketing exercise in the first instance, as we have noticed to be great interest in up market real estate during this time, but we’re also happy to do our bit to extend renowned local hospitality during this memorable occasion.”Investing in the futureThe America’s Cup fever that has the region in its grip is best demonstrated by the strong demand for mooring berths. “Part of the 1.5 billion euros [2 billion dollars] invested in the area have gone towards expanding existing marinas and developing new ones.” It’s an outlay inspired by the America’s Cup that has seen both public and private funds poured into new infrastructures such as the extension of the high-speed AVE train link to Madrid and Barcelona, the extension to the runways at Valencia’s international airport, direct trains connecting the airport and a new state-of-the-art sports marina and America’s Cup village in the port of Valencia, as well as new hotels and resort developments.“It has all helped to make this a center of investment and one of the fastest-growing regions in Spain, even Europe,” says Ribes. “Besides the sporting highlight itself and the boost to local tourism from millions of additional visitors, the event is a huge marketing exercise for exactly at a time when new investment is showing this already dynamic region to its fullest glory. To us, therefore, the added value lies not just in riding this one great wave, but in the continued boost that new development, newly improved infrastructures and access to new markets is bringing.” Exciting times indeed.For more information please visit or contact your nearest Luxury Real Estate member.

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