Retail crisis in luxury Puerto Banús marina

by Deborah Cater
Puerto Banús marina legal wrangle
del canto chambers 2

While many stores in Spain suffer from the covid crisis, another crisis unfolds in the Puerto Banús marina. Legal wrangling means luxury brands wait to establish themselves there until the “war” is over.

Puerto Banús marina in Marbella, where many luxury brands have stores, is experiencing one of the greatest crises in its history. The reason, a conflict between the Puerto Banús concessionaire and the tenants of the buildings. A conflict that has risen within the ranks of the Marbella municipality and the Malaga courts.

War between Puerto Banús and tenants retail properties

This “open war”, as Spanish news site El Confidencial calls it, came about at the end of 2019 when the Puerto Banús concessionaire increased the rates tenants pay for the terraces – the space between the entrance and the sea. In some cases, the rate became eight to nine times higher than before. A huge loss for the tenants who have to find these costs every month.

According to El Confidencial, the concessionaire has been planning to sell the facilities for several years. As no serious buyer came forward, Puerto Banús took a different tack. The increase in rental income is the concessionaire’s way of showing interested parties how attractive and profitable this purchase is.

The parties will go to court

Tenants expressed their dissatisfaction, but Puerto Banús still does not budge. The tenants also refuse to pay this ‘absurd’ increase. Tensions have now risen to such an extent that both parties have gone to court.

C&D Solicitors

Before the case reaches court, lawyers discover that in 1998 the municipality of Marbella determined the terraces are municipal property. Currently, three sites – Muelle Benabola, Muelle Rivera and Calle X – have been sued to denounce the nullity of the lease.

At the same time, Puerto Banús is filing lawsuits to evict retailers for failing to meet their payment obligations. To date, Málaga court has agreed to one eviction request, and this is now going forward. The other lawsuits are currently still pending.

Uncertainty about the rightful owner of terraces

As early as 2019, it was unclear who the terraces really belong to. On the one hand, they belong to the Junta of Andalucia, as a public domain, and are delegated to the concessionaire. On the other, there is an area that falls outside the domain of the concessionaire and that determines it as a public road. However, the discussion over these terraces has not yet led to a clear answer as to who the owner is, how much is due and to whom the buildings’ tenants have to pay.

At the moment, there are more than twenty properties for sale or  rent. Although international brands are interested in establishing themselves here, they seem to be waiting for this war to end.

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