The first phase of the Santa María Polo Club tourism-sports project in Sotogrande was approved last Friday by the Territorial Planning Committee in Cádiz, depending on the Junta de Andalucía.

This polo club in Sotogrande is one of the top three clubs in the world. Its Summer International Tournament is considered a “Tourist Interest Event” by the Junta de Andalucía, and gathers the best world polo players and teams every year from July to August in this selected housing development in San Roque, what means a great worldwide media impact.

The first phase approved – previously contained in the Spatial Planning of Gibraltar – is a clear recognition of the current importance of the sport horse as a catalyst for the economy, the employment and the tourist image of this area in the coast of Cádiz. This also means that polo and horse riding will have a bright future in Andalusia if local administrations keep on developing the horse culture –as the Junta de Andalucía and the Local Government of San Roque have been doing for now, approving these initiatives-, especially considering the iconic significance of the horse in our cultural heritage in every Andalusian town.

Highlights:

Santa María Polo Club is already developing the Partial Plan, so as the projects that will enable a quick start of the approved enterprise, which include:

• A 290.000 m2 housing development, with an extremely low setting up (0,25m2/m2).
• 25.000 m2 for the new Guadiaro Fluvial Park.
• A direct access to the club, from the A-7 dual carriageway.
• More than 50.000 m2 of green areas.
• 12.000 m2 for a spa and a health club.
• 12.000 m2 for a new Business Center, a non existent infrastructure in this area nowadays.
• A high level Polo Club House, occupying more than 3.000 m2.
• Over 200 luxury hotel rooms, distributed in a five star Polo Hotel and 25 exclusive apartments. Both the hotel and the apartments will have a view to the polo fields and will be managed in agreement with the Club House, following the example of the best polo clubs in the world.
• 11.000 m2 of tertiary trade areas (offices, shops, restaurants).
• 22 premium plots, beside the polo fields, occupying 5.000 m2, and 25 luxury residential apartments.

The spatial and landscape design in this project will be performed by EDSA, a renowned consultant from Miami with extensive worldwide experience and prestige in unique and exclusive projects.

The direct and induced investment is over 200 million euros and will entail the creation or retention of 800 jobs in this first phase.

The second phase will need an overhaul of the General Plan of San Roque. It will take place over another 300.000 m2 of land and will include an enlargement of the Marina Sotogrande, as quoted in the Spatial Plan of Campo de Gibraltar. This would mean a 300 million euros investment and approximately another 1.200 job positions.

The Equine District: a close at hand future

The projects described before are connected, as a resort for great equestrian events, with a future equestrian and polo macroproject (in a countrified way) and with the creation of an ‘Equine District’ in Valle del Guadiaro, following the Palm Beach and Wellington (Florida) standards.

Last year, Santa María Polo Club’s Foundation drafted a study, which analyzed the best polo and horse riding areas in the world. This study proposed a new “model” to achieve the highest development level of the existing facilities beside the Guadiaro river and, above all, the creation of new facilities, taking advantage of the opportunities that the área Spatial Planning established, thus it held the possibility of creating “equestrian farms” in Valle del Guadiaro.

The ‘Equine District’ is a rural development based on the horse sporting points, in conformity with the Strategic Agenda 2020 of the European Union, which allows the creation of countryside polo and equestrian clubs, and also polo haciendas and equine farms, to be used as horse bases for the teams, most of them from Europe.

The expected investment, from different private investors, will be 500 million euros and the employment creation could be above 3.000 jobs, between permanent and temporary Jobs, in the three affected municipalities.

Santa María Polo Foundation has created a Work Group to boost the ‘Equine District’, with the involvement of the Local Governments of San Roque, Jimena and Castellar; the Andalusian Polo and Equestrian Federations; the Andalusian Entrepeneurs Confederation; the headman of ASAJA (Agrarian Association of Young Farmers), the Cordoba University and the three major horse riding and polo clubs in the area: Ayala Polo Club, Dos Lunas Polo & Dressage, and, of course, Santa María Polo Club.

They are currently working on a Proposal to be submitted to the Junta de Andalucía before this summer.