The Fladgate Partnership today presented the “World of Wine” project, an investment of 100 million euros to be completed in June 2020, involving the creation of five museums, an area of restaurants, parking and exhibitions.
The area in question measures over 30,000 square metres, occupied by the old Port wine warehouses which, according to information distributed to the press by the investment group, are currently empty due to the evolution of the sector.
“A great cultural and retail complex will emerge from the restored area, which aims to become a major centre for the expansion of tourism (…). Initially the project will welcome 560,000 visitors, who will make over a million cultural visits to the ‘World of Wine’,” reads the project description.
At the presentation session held this afternoon, the CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, Adrian Bridge, stated that he estimates that around 300 direct jobs will be created with this investment, and underlined the commitment to cutting edge technology.
“This is probably the biggest investment in an urban centre, not only in Portugal but anywhere in Europe,” said Adrian Bridge, pointing out that the objective of the “World of Wine” is to be a “catalyst” for tourism in the historical zone of Vila Nova de Gaia, district of Porto.
The president of the city council, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, considered that this project “will mark the future and the historical center of Gaia”, stating that it is a “challenge” to “combine traditions with modernity in a balanced way”.
“I’m one of those people who believes that historical centres have plenty of traditional, typical and extraordinarily historical aspects, but I don’t believe that they have to be exclusively museum-like spaces”, stated the mayor, defending the need to “explore various tourism models”.
Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues stated that he wants visitors to return for second time, and to recommend the place to their friends. In turn, Adrian Bridge suggested that the challenges were increasing the average length of stay – currently calculated at two nights – in this tourist destination and making the business profitable in both “high” and “low” seasons.
The “World of Wine” is a PIN – Potential National Interest project that brings together five cultural experiences: a museum dedicated to monuments, one dedicated to cork, a third to the wine regions of Portugal, a fourth to design and the final one to tell the story of containers used over time to consume wine.
In addition to this are 12 restaurant spaces, events venues, a wine school, parking and an area of shops. On the sidelines of the ceremony, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues explained to the journalists that the permits for this project should be obtained within two months and that it is fruit of “two and a half years of a lot of discussions and dialogue”, including several changes to the original idea “all reconciled” between the mayor’s office and the investors.
The mayor confirmed that “two small warehouses” will be demolished, but he guaranteed that these are not wine cellars and that the design also includes the creation of new accesses to the historical centre and the creation of a new plaza.
And Adrian Bridge also revealed this afternoon that the expansion of The Yeatman hotel – located near the future epicenter of the “World of Wine” and which also belongs to the Fladgate Partnership group – will be completed in 2018.