Rock gambles on financial future

Wednesday 11 Jul 2007

Gibraltar shakes off "battleship grey" image and targets 21st century markets

After centuries as a military fortress and extended periods of siege, hostility and isolation, an historic agreement with Spain could open up a whole new “international” era for the Rock of Gibraltar. The catalyst for the new direction will be a new international airport and the removal of existing flight restrictions.

Gibraltar, one of the last British dependencies is known for its tax-free status and is now strategically positioned to host booming service industries such as off-shore banking and online gaming. This mould-breaking development by Commercial Developments Investments Ltd, designed by Dutch architects Bureau Ritzen, is to be built on a former military parade ground adjacent to the original sea wall. The project will provide 35,000m² of offices, luxury residential and leisure facilities targeted at the growing financial services sector and its peripheries of legal and accounting. The MidTown scheme will comprise four separate buildings together with generous car parking in one integrated project and is indicative of Gibraltar’s new direction.

This is all a far cry from the common perception of Gibraltar as not much more than a day’s shopping trip from the Costa del Sol. The contemporary design of the Mid Town scheme marks a sea-change from decades of “military style” developments comprised of unadventurous traditional housing blocks in uniform magnolia - a land based version of battleship grey.

A full review and analysis of the other developments planned for Gibraltar will follow on WAN soon.....

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