While articles in media such as The Times paint Menorca as the new Ibiza, the island itself is not so keen on the idea.
The Balearic island of Menorca is home to artisans. Craft is an integral part of the landscape. It is little wonder then, that the exclusive art house Hauser & Wirth opened its latest gallery on the island.
With a luxurious gallery comes luxury tourism. The gallery, according to ElDiario.es, is attracting visitors with a high purchasing power. Proof of this is the increase in private jet traffic to the island. In fact, the gallery points out that the works exhibited – with values ranging between €1-4million – have already found a buyer.
A second effect of the gallery’s presence could be the arrival of millionaires who want to get a home on the island. This is something the inhabitants fear will have a negative impact on the real estate market, resulting in exorbitant prices.
Housing market already affected
The first property purchases have already taken place and, according to real estate agents, prices have already started to skyrocket. “What used to be worth between €200,000 -€250,000 is now between €450,000 and €500,000, not counting the reform,” said an agent.
Francisco Arnau, director of Engel & Völkers Menorca, reiterated the facts. “€500,000 or €600,000 to buy a house on the island is currently a simple budget.”
The ‘boom’ in Menorca is relatively recent. “10 years ago the French VIPs arrived from Paris and a couple of years ago Spanish businessmen began to arrive on the island, businessmen who want to be invisible, go unnoticed,” Arnau says.
Sotheby’s calculates between 10-15% as the price rise for the most exclusive properties, while Arnau explains that “not everything has risen equally”. In his opinion “what has become more expensive are the houses that touch the sea.”
Cristina Gómez, Minister of Housing of the Consell Insular de Menorca, has already warned that they are not going to get carried away by being the fashionable destination. “We don’t want to be Ibiza or any place of banalities. I think no Menorcan wants it,” she stated.
Hauser & Wirth Menorca
Hauser & Wirth Menorca is an art centre on the beautiful natural setting of Illa del Rei, an island in Mahon harbour. Following a conservation project, Hauser & Wirth sensitively repurposed the existing 18th century outbuildings of a naval hospital to create the 1,500 sq.m. art centre.
There are eight galleries. An outdoor sculpture trail featuring works by Louise Bourgeois, Eduardo Chillida, Joan Miró and Franz West. With education and sustainability at its core, the gallery runs a robust series of educational activities.
Menorca’s artisans are not forgotten. The gallery shop presents art publications and crafts by local makers.
Illa del Rei, where the gallery sits, is a fifteen-minute ride from Mahon port by shuttle ferry. Entrance to Hauser & Wirth’s art centres is free to the public, with all admission donations distributed between local charitable partners.