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Marbella beckons for Abu Dhabi real estate developers

UAE Spain Marbella Pixabay
Marbella's Golden Mile is popular with both Spanish nationals and international buyers
  • Developers sign deal for Golden Mile
  • UAE and Spain seek more tie-ups
  • Spanish exports to UAE down by 9%

A joint venture with a high-end Spanish residential developer has been launched by two Abu Dhabi real estate companies to build ten hectares of luxury homes in the Golden Mile, a premier area in Marbella.

The deal with Mabel Real Estate to co-build Mabel Marbella Residences is the first luxury project in Europe for Bloom Holding and Lead Development. 

Demand on the Golden Mile is driven by both Spanish nationals seeking second homes and international buyers.

“Spain, and Marbella in particular, remains a global destination for luxury homes that continues to attract both investors and homeowners from across the globe, presenting an attractive entry point for Bloom Holding,” Carlos Wakim, CEO of the UAE developer, told AGBI.

The UAE and Spain’s respective governments have an agreement to implement a new bilateral investment treaty (BIT) as they look to engage further in trade.

The final approval from Spain last month came more than a year after the European Commission authorised the country to proceed with the signing of the BIT.

In 2022 the two countries issued a joint declaration which highlighted co-investment opportunities in sectors such as energy transition, sustainable mobility, digitalisation, biotechnology and agriculture.

The law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer said in a research note: “It appears that this shared wish to strengthen the already close economic ties and to increase the mutual flow of investments between both countries will finally crystallise in the signing of the BIT.

“The signing and publishing of the BIT text will be a positive development affording opportunities for investors of both countries to properly structure their planned investments.”

Spain has similar agreements already in place in the GCC with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The latest figures from Spain’s Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Tourism show a downturn in bilateral trade with the UAE in the first 11 months of 2023.

Spanish exports to the UAE topped $1.8 billion but were down by 9 percent on the same period in 2022. Exports from the UAE fell by more than a third to $969 million.

The UAE is Spain’s second largest trading partner in the GCC after Saudi Arabia, which recorded bilateral trade of more than $6 billion in the same period.

Spain’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa is Morocco, worth nearly $22 billion.

The UAE and Spain: trade highlights
  • Edge Group, the UAE’s defence and technology giant, teamed up with Spain’s Indra in March to develop and manufacture radar systems in Abu Dhabi.
  • Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa, confirmed last month that it was holding talks with the three biggest shareholders of the Spanish energy company Naturgy over a potential acquisition of shares.
  • Iberdrola and Masdar announced in December a $16 billion partnership agreement to explore joint offshore wind and green hydrogen projects across the world. 
  • Adia Lab, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority-backed centre dedicated to cutting-edge research, chose Spain last year as a base for its expansion into Europe. 
  • The former Spanish king, Juan Carlos, who was forced to abdicate in 2014 amid investigations into bribery allegations, has been living in self-imposed exile on Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi.

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