For some it is a grotesque horror, for others a key step on the path to transforming Benidorm into the Miami of the Mediterranean.
In any case, after 17 years of setbacks, the gigantic Intempo skyscraper is finally completed. At 187 meters, it is the tallest apartment building in the European Union. Its Twin Towers also feature Spain’s fastest elevator, which rises at a speed of 4.2 meters per second and can reach the top floor in 52 seconds.
The Costa Blanca resort’s skyscrapers can rival those of Manhattan or Hong Kong, at 80 blocks across 25 floors, but Intempo’s 47 floors leave them all in the shadows.
The towers are connected at the top by a diamond-shaped structure where the price of a penthouse apartment is around 2 million euros (£ 1.73 million). Elsewhere in the building, prices start at € 257,000.
The timing would seem dire, as resort towns such as Benidorm have been hit hard by drastic drops in the number of foreign visitors. And yet, according to developer Uniq Residential, 100 of Intempo’s 256 apartments have been pre-sold – around 60% to Spaniards and the rest to Russians, Scandinavians, Germans and Belgians.
The British, who represent 40% of visitors to Benidorm, will not move in, however.
“I don’t think the Brits who have that kind of money would spend it in Benidorm,” said Michelle Baker of YouTube channel Benidorm Forever. “It would be too incongruous.
“People who have a lot of money don’t go to Benidorm. Unless you rename it, you’d be hard pressed to attract those high-priced customers. Fast forward 50 years and that might be a different story. “
The raison d’être of Benidorm is tourism and the pandemic has had a disastrous effect on its economy. But, as Baker points out, there are really two Benidorms: one for the rich, on Poniente beach, where Intempo is located, and one for the less well-off, on the Levante.
Baker said she admired the new development and dismissed claims it was ugly. “In addition to the Intempo, there is the Sunset Beach building and the Delfin Tower,” she said. “The prediction is that the Poniente region will become the Miami of Benidorm… For me, these are exceptional pieces of architecture, absolutely magnificent.”
Intempo has gone through many hands and its current owner, the SVPGlobal fund, has paid 60 million euros to acquire the building’s debts from Sareb, the so-called “bad bank” created to mop up the tens of thousands of unfinished properties after the Spanish real estate bubble burst in 2008.
The complex serves as the backdrop for Batman: The World, an anthology set to be released by DC Comics in September. Award-winning Spanish graphic designer Paco Roca said he chose it because, with all of its skyscrapers, it looks like “somewhere between Las Vegas and Gotham”.