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Uruguay’s main residential seaside resort under siege by real estate speculators

Monday, January 23rd 2012 - 04:21 UTC
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Jose Ignacio has been recommended for its special village flavour by leading US tourism and real estate publications Jose Ignacio has been recommended for its special village flavour by leading US tourism and real estate publications

The leading residential seaside resort in Uruguay which has made the reviews of some of the most significant world magazines because of its village spirit, excellent beaches and easy going environment but also with some of the best restaurants and art galleries in the country is threatened by speculators.

Residents of Jose Ignacio, most of them foreigners have written to Uruguayan president Jose Mujica complaining abut a late night resolution voted by the local council of Maldonado, to which the resort belongs, allowing for the construction of hotels in the area.

“The community of Jose Ignacio is shocked, we went to sleep at a residential district of family homes and we woke up in a business district. The modifications to building regulations, voted at mid night session with no previous debate or warning of the issue, impacts directly on the properties of hundreds of residents, mostly foreigners who trusted in Uruguay’s reliability and legal security”, said a release from the local Jose Ignacio Community Office.

The town council of Maldonado unexpectedly and before entering into summer recess approved with Councillors’ votes from the Uruguayan ruling coalition and some members of the opposition to amend the building regulations putting an end to Jose Ignacio’s residential area condition.

Taking advantage of the holidays spirit (Xmas and New Year) and with no warning Councillors opened the way for the building of hotels in the residential area, “signalling the beginning of the end” for the resort of Jose Ignacio, said the release.

“Massiveness will force down the value of properties; security problems will increase; neighbours and regular tourists will be replaced by occasional visitors and what today is a paradise in a few years will become another beach with a lost prestige”.

Who benefit? “The real estate speculators, easy-money dealers, those with friends in politics, those who make a big cut and then move on to look for another place to destroy. Who are the losers? Those who in good faith believed in the legal system; those who have turned Jose Ignacio into a second home, the locals, who will loose jobs and Uruguay disgraced before the eyes of the world for having changed the rules of the game”.

Apparently the original message sent by the Mayor of Maldonado Oscar de los Santos referred to new regulations related to the construction of hotels specifically excluded Jose Ignacio as a residential area.

However at 3:45 early morning December 14, the resolution was amended on initiative of several government and opposition Councillors and with no debate, Jose Ignacio was included in areas allowing for the building of hotels.

“We have sent a letter to Maldonado Mayor De los Santos requesting a review of the amendment and we have asked for an appointment with President Jose Mujica”, said Delfina Linck president of the Jose Ignacio Community Office and the chairman and solicitor Javier Garcia Elorrio.

Jose Ignacio on the Atlantic coast is 35 kilometres from Uruguay’s internationally renowned resort of Punta del Este which over the decades from a small fishermen’s village by the sea has become city full of high rise buildings, shopping malls, casinos, supermarkets packed in a few summer weeks and a ghost town the rest of the year.

“We want to keep the residential family spirit of Jose Ignacio; we want to know our neighbours, we want our children to play with none of the fears of a city, we want to rest plus defend our investments and our dedication to the town”, said Argentine resident Andreina de Luca Caraballo.

Categories: Real Estate, Tourism, Uruguay.

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