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Balearic island for sale – if you have a spare €24 million

Paradise for sale

News that one of the islands that makes up Formentera, S'Espalmador is up for sale has resulted in a number of interested parties queuing up to buy it. At €24 million, however, the island cannot be said to be in many people's budgets including that of the Consell de Formentera, the island's local government council.

At a meeting of the Consell at which most councillors, but not its President, were in attendance, the possibility of taking the island back into public ownership was raised. The meeting was also attended by Mark Stücklin, as representative of the property, one of the sons of the owners and the lawyer Marí Ribas Santiago. Consell vice president, Bartomeu Escandell, confirmed the discussion, though said: “of course we are interested, it would be amazing, but the price is too high.”

The island was acquired by Bernado Cinnamond James, from Carlos Tur Roig in 1932 for the sum of 42,500 pesetas. Rosy and Norman Cinnamond the, grandchildren of Cinnamond James, have already received several offers though are keen to see it return into the hands of the public and would consider a long-term payment agreement for this type of sale.

The annual budget of Formentera's Consell is almost the same as the asking price, and unless funds can be found from the State, the Government or the European Union, it is unlikely that the island will return to public ownership. The islet is located in a particularly sensitive place in terms of the preservation of the ecosystem of the Natural Park of Ibiza and Formentera. It is also protected by the coastal act, has been a Natural Area of Special Interest since 2001 and in 2005 was declared an Area with a high level of protection by the Insular Territorial Plan.

The area has additional protections though it is under pressure each year from the many boats that travel around Ibiza and Formentera, so any new owner may have to enforce measures to help prevent uncontrolled mooring and pollution caused by the nautical traffic. Mud bathing, for which the island had become famous is also very damaging to the area and birdlife and despite a ban on this, people are still continuing to engage in this prohibited activity.

Ibiza is a magnet for many of the world's billionaires, many of whom travel with their super-sized yachts to enjoy the island in summer. It is often featured in top ten lists as one of the biggest destinations of the super-rich, so S'Espalmador may yet fall into the hands of people like Paul Allen of Microsoft fame or even Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

Whatever becomes of S'Espalmador, we hope that its new owners do everything to protect and preserve this pretty little island.


WORDS | Julian Heathcote

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