Work has finally started after four years of delays on the first phase of a €250 million Tui AG resort in the Tuscany region of Italy.
Construction of the Castelfalfi Resort required permissions and licensing following acquisition of the land and existing properties in 2007.
The first phase will consist of a 32-room boutique hotel within the walls of an old tobacco factory, country houses and apartments being built in 11 square kilometres of grounds close to an 18-hole golf course, which was completed last autumn.
The boutique property is due to open in summer 2012 and will be followed by two further hotels. Once the entire project is complete, the construction footprint will cover only 0.003% of the grounds, according to Tui.
Twenty six derelict farms are to be converted into country houses and 50 unites are to be sold off as holiday properties. A medieval citadel is being converted into a restaurant and a second is planned in an old, newly renovated pizzeria.
More than half of the resort’s energy requirements will be generated locally in a local biomass processing power station and water will be drawn from the site's own spring.
The water supply and waste-water disposal system makes provision for biological processing and multiple water usage.
Grapes in 30-hectares of vineyards will be processed in the site's own pressing plant, and each year the olives from 9,000 trees will be turned into several thousand litres of olive oil.
The project should create some 250 jobs within the region. Tui AG CEO Dr Michael Frenzel said: “With this project we are embarking on a new chapter in the history of Tui Hotels & Resorts.
“We are developing an extensive resort which will be unique for the Tuscany region. Aspects of sustainability and the preservation and restoration of this unique landscape are our top priorities.”
Karl Pojer, board member with responsibility for Tui Hotels & Resorts, said: “The local administration here has managed to resist numerous temptations over the years. This has meant that 'construction crimes' have largely been avoided in this region.
“Many of the views are as they were 150 years ago. It is our intention to keep Castelfalfi in the same condition while offering a contemporary hotel concept aimed at specific target groups which can not be found anywhere else in Tuscany. We will be using our many years of experience to carefully develop this region."
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