The construction of the hotel of Algarrobico began in 2003, by the Spanish company Azata, with a construction authorization given by the local authority of Carboneras, against the Natural Park’s warnings.
The area in which the Algarrobico hotel was being built was designated a nature park in 1987. It covers an estimated 150-square-miles of volcanic land, and consists of hills, coves, shrubbery and open plains. Its only inhabitants are those living in fishing towns and former mining settlements that had been established prior to the nature park declaration.
In 2001, Spanish real estate developer Azata applied for a building permit to construct a hotel along the beach. Two years later, their request was granted and work began on erecting the building. However, the decision was met with backlash, particularly from environmental groups worried about its negative effects on the local ecology.
The protests culminated in a 2006 court ruling that saw a judge freeze construction indefinitely. Ever since, the 21-story, 411-room building has been left in a state of limbo, half-completed and surrounded by three construction cranes.
In 2016, Spain’s Supreme Court ordered that the Algarrobico hotel be demolished, overturning a 2014 ruling by the High Court of Justice of Andalusia, which sided with the real estate developers. The supreme court also ruled that the land belongs to the Junta.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, a new court battle began, this time regarding who would be responsible for the hotel’s demolition and who would foot the bill. In October 2020, the Andalusian regional government set aside funds for the demolition in its preliminary 2021 budget. However, removal of the hotel did not proceed at that time.
The president of the Junta, Juama Moreno, has now promised to demolish the Algarrobico as part of a ‘green’ programme outlined by the regional government. The Algarrobico was a giant aberration that has unfortunately stigmatized any kind of new economic activity in this whole area.
In July 2021, the Andalusian Superior Court of Justice rejected Greenpeace’s request to go ahead with the demolition. According to the judges, the action will not be able to proceed until the municipality of Carboneras cancels the construction permit given in 2003.