Brotherly Love – Exclusive Statement re Ibiza Land Purchase from the Ruebens

  • Rueben brothers purchase further 258,000 square metres of Ibiza land.
  • Exclusive Statement confirming their “respect (for) the heritage and beauty of the land”
  • 11th May 2017, Nick Gibbs

Brothers David and Simon Rueben, whose property empire includes swathes of London and several plots in Ibiza, have closed a deal on the purchase of a further 258,000 square metres of Ibizan real estate.

The purchase was reported in the national UK press following which The Ibizan contacted the Rueben brothers London based holding company who have provided an official statement relating to their intentions and Ibiza connections.

The brothers have paid in the region of 5million euros to purchase the land from the Costa Tur family. The exact final price is subject to outstanding real estate transfer taxes. The land adjoins their existing Ibiza property and is designated as an area of special natural interest – Áreas Naturales de Especial Interés de Alto Nivel de Protección “SRP-AANP”

Aside from a proposal to renovate a currently unused finca on the existing land, there have been no development plans submitted. However the company is in ongoing discussions with Sant Josep town hall regarding the parking situation at Cala Comte.

As reported in Issue 858, Cala Comte is one of many of Ibiza’s coastal areas where the pressure of summer parking is causing chaos. This is a particular concern to ambulance and fire services who are unable to gain access in an emergency.

ibiza-cala-comte
Parking chaos at Cala Comte

2015 Purchase

The brothers first purchase of land in 2015 included that of Cala Bassa Beach Club and the Sunset Ashram bar and restaurant. The sale caused considerable alarm among local residents who feared the purchase was indicative of forthcoming development. An online petition by a group entitled New Earth Movement gained 4700 signatures to its declaration that “constructing luxury houses with more cement and dust is ugly” and that protestors should “send the Rueben brothers our message”.

In a report published by The Sunday Times it was stated that the Ruebens “have no immediate plans to build on the land”. It went on to cite an unnamed source as saying any large scale development activity was “at least a change of government away”.


Editorial Comment

It would have been easy to rehash the Sunday Times report, complete with its unsubstantiated ’source’, or for an even more inflammatory piece we could have used some of the local posts regarding the land sale, all of which have taken an entirely negative stance.

But we decided not to do that. We decided to contact the Rueben brothers holding company to seek their comment.

After all, the scaremongering at the time of the original purchase does not seem to have yet been borne out.

ibiza-reuben
The Rueben brothers are amongst the wealthiest people in Britain with combined assets of 14 billion. They made their fortune trading aluminium in 1990’s Russia and have since invested in a substantial property portfolio.

Statement

We have been in communication with an official spokesperson for the Rueben brothers who has issued the following statement.

“The Reubens are long term investors in land and real estate across the globe, and do not take short term views on their investments. They have been visiting the island for over 30 years, and it is somewhere that they have always enjoyed. They will continue to respect the heritage and beauty of the land that they have purchased, and look forward to spending more time on the island in the coming years.”

It is to be expected that any land purchase by a property holding company would raise concerns among the local community. There is an ongoing and ever increasing fear of over-development of our island  resulting from  the global success of ‘brand Ibiza’. The need to preserve what remains of the islands fragile natural environment is forefront in many of our minds.

ibiza-cala-bassa
The Cala Bassa Beach Club is on land owned by the Ruebens

Though it is unlikely the statement issued by the Rueben brothers will convince the people of Ibiza that they need have no fears of future development, it is surely a positive and welcome notice. They have taken the opportunity to confirm their respect for the heritage and beauty of Ibiza, and it will give us some comfort in that they have a relationship with the island dating back some 30 years – notably during decades they would have found it far easier to turn a development profit  than they would in the current political climate.

For now, it is good news and perhaps, until we have cause to think otherwise, we could see advantage in investment being made by those with sufficient pockets to do good.

The Devil We Already Know

Also, we must be careful not to direct our energy in opposing people that to date have done nothing to warrant that opposition, when there are so many breaches and abuses of property development regulations being undertaken under our noses and by our own people. Ask me whether more harm has been done to our island cumulatively over the past few decades by its own people or outside investors and I frankly wouldn’t have a clue which way to guess.

In Issue 858, we also report on the ongoing farce of the Casa Lola/Paola situation where a landowner has blatantly ignored all regulations over a 7-year period, and is now building yet another unlicensed property.

Some may say I am being naive in putting store in the statement issued by the Reubens, but I would counter with asking ourselves why they would bother making any statement at all if there is a hidden agenda at play. And as for the Sunday Times source that “large scale development activity was at least a change of government away”, it would take a brave Government of any colour to allow development on a protected natural area in the current climate. The Es Vedra goats come to mind.

All in all it seems to me that there is plenty to occupy ourselves in getting our own house in order without wasting our efforts on the houses of others that may never be built.

Somebody has to own that land, and if the current owners wish to stress their connection with Ibiza and respect for its heritage, we should give them a chance to prove it. They haven’t done any of us any harm, so isn’t that the Ibiza way?