Intempo, the tallest residential building in Europe, is finally completed on Spain’s Costa Blanca

Almost 15 years after construction began, Intempo, an eccentric, M-shaped residential skyscraper rising more than 650 feet above the coastal town of Benidorm, Spain, is finally complete.

Initially derailed by the economic crisis of 2008, Intempo’s journey towards full realization has been resolutely out of tempo one, its momentum disrupted by construction spurts, bankruptcies, idle sales, multiple homeowners, resigning architects, and weird internet rumors involving elevators. (But not the global pandemic, apparently.) Yet the 47-story building has risen from its seemingly doomed status with several notable superlatives still in place: It is the tallest residential building in the European Union, the tallest structure of any type in Spain built outside of Madrid, and one of the tallest buildings in the world completed in a city of less than 100,000 inhabitants.

(Zarateman / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0 Universal dedication to the public domain)

Home to just under 70,000 permanent residents, it’s easy to label Benidorm, located on Spain’s Mediterranean coast in the Valencia province of Alicante, as this country’s version of Miami Beach. A more fitting comparison, however, might be Ocean City, Maryland, or something a little more Jersey Shore-ish. While Benidorm’s expansive beaches, family entertainment and vibrant nightlife attract a good number of residents of Madrid, the city is a particularly popular destination, notoriously enough, for visitors from the United Kingdom albeit tourists from the UK. Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium also play in the mix.

As noted in a recent article on the completion of Intempo published in The Guardian, 100 of the 256 apartments in the building have been sold, 60% of them to Spaniards and the rest to Russians, Germans, Belgians and Scandinavians. However, Britons in love with Benidorm, who make up almost half of all visitors to the city, are conspicuously absent.

“I don’t think Brits who have that kind of money would spend it in Benidorm, explained Michelle Baker of Benidorm Forever, a Youtube channel dedicated to promoting the city to British holidaymakers. The Guardian. “It would be too incongruous.

an M-shaped residential tower under construction
Intempo under construction (endless) in 2011. (Pixelat / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0)

By the Guardian, Intempo’s penthouse units, located on the 45th floor in the cone-shaped structure that spans the structure’s two slender parallel towers, cost around $ 3.5 million each. The smaller condos in the building, which were all ripped off, started just north of $ 300,000. Just above the penthouse level, on the 46h floor, is a dizzying outdoor pool. One floor at the top of the building are more common amenities, including a lounge bar.

While Intempo stands out, Benidorm’s skyline was already impressive for a mid-size resort on the Costa Blanca with a rather salacious reputation. (Although its economy relies more than ever on British tourists, the city has attempted to revamp its image in recent years to attract more upscale and less sloshed visitors.) Among its other towers of high-rise hotels and condos is the Gran Bali. Hotel, which debuted in 2002 as Spain’s tallest building at 610 feet. (He has since lost that title to the Torre Espacio designed by Henry N. Cobb in 2008.) As noted by the Madrid daily El PaísBenidorm is home to more than 80 buildings over 25 floors, including 27 towering over 300 feet tall.

view of a tower in m from an abandoned wasteland
(velomartinez / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0)

“The name Intempo evokes a certain resistance to the passage of time, and as such could not have been better chosen”, writes José Luis Aranda for El País. “The skyscraper is a symbol of resistance in Benidorm. Just as the popular tourist destination is always visible when you approach the region by sea or land, its urban design has left no one indifferent for six decades now.

Intempo was originally scheduled for completion in 2009, two years after construction officially began. The 2008 economic crisis brought construction to a standstill and the project was largely abandoned. Work resumed when the Spanish real estate market rebounded and for a while Intempo seemed to finally be in the home stretch with completion slated for 2011. This completion date was then pushed back to early 2014. Its owner then declared bankruptcy and the project spent several more years languishing. Reports of unsafe working conditions also hampered the project throughout its lengthy construction. (The architects Pérez-Guerras Arquitectos & Ingenieros had moved away from the project at that time.)

In 2018, Intempo was acquired by current owner SVP Global, who guided the building through the coronavirus pandemic to its long-awaited completion.

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