07 January 2005 – Jenny Davey The Times
MULTIPLEX, the Australian builder, and the Reuben brothers, the billionaire private investors, are in talks to develop a £1.8 billion marina development in Gibraltar.
The ambitious project, which is designed by the famed architect Lord Foster of Thames Bank, includes at least two luxury hotels, a cruise liner terminal, a 500 berth yacht marina and hundreds of luxury apartments, as well as a housing development.
The project, which is known as Eastside, was inherited by Multiplex and the Reuben brothers after their takeover of Chelsfield, the property company founded by Elliott Bernerd.
The Government of Gibraltar is keen for the plans to proceed because it believes the project will help to deliver economic growth and hundreds of new jobs.
A spokesman for the Gibraltar Government would only say that the project was being negotiated with MCB Gibraltar, a joint venture between Multiplex and Chelsfield which has since been taken over by the Reuben brothers and Multiplex.
The news came as it emerged that Multiplex and the Reuben brothers had sold the London headquarters of Marks & Spencer in Paddington to a private Irish investor for about £140 million.
The identity of the buyer has not been disclosed because of strict confidentiality agreements, but it is thought to be David Arnold, an investor who is well known in Irish business circles.
The sale is part of a string of disposals made by the Reuben brothers and Multiplex following the takeover of Chelsfield.
All the sales have generated significant profits above the book values, and come at a time when investment in commercial property has hit record levels.