Cabopino is a jewel at the heart of the Costa del Sol, surrounded by sand dunes, pine trees and traditionally-designed homes, but it now looks neglected and is desperately in need of improvement. It is the smallest of Marbella’s three marinas, the other two being Puerto Banús and La Bajadilla, and has always had a lower profile despite being popular with tourists. 
Built in the 1970s, Cabopino is about to enter a new stage in its existence. Now that the 40-year concession which has been held by a Danish businessman through the Marina de Cabopino company has expired, new investors want to take over with his support and backing, and they have jointly presented a project to modernise the port and put an end to its problems, with an initial investment of about five million euros. 
Marina de Cabopino has agreed to the project and to the new concession being put to tender and once the plans have been put on public display and reactions to them considered, interested parties will be invited to bid for the contract. 
“The plans have been approved by the Junta, but until the concession is put to tender we won’t know whether any other companies are interested in the port,” said Adolfo Álvarez, a partner in Marina de Cabopino. He also said that according to the law, as the former holder of the concession has applied for it again, “we have the right of first refusal regarding the bid which is selected if it is not ours,” he explained. 
The Spanish entrepreneurs who took over the concession two years ago applied for it to be extended, but the request was turned down. They know the port well and want to take it over because of its neglected state and its debts. In the contract with Marina de Cabopino, they agreed to meet the debts, of which 700,000 euros alone are in unpaid fees to the Junta de Andalucía. 
The project they have presented will be used as the basis for those who may be interested in the contract to run the port (if there are any other applications) and its main focus is on modernisation. One of the main features is to eradicate the problem of the silting of the harbour mouth, which for several months a year prevents large yachts from entering and means that the company is obliged to have it dredged. 
To resolve this, they have proposed extending the sea wall by about 450 metres and the outer harbour wall by about 30 metres underwater, to provide more protection from the action of the waves. They also plan to widen the sea wall to provide up to 68 new berths along a 180-metre stretch, and create an esplanade at the end so that a maritime authority building and a restaurant can be constructed there. 
There are also plans to change the size of the berths so they are the same size as those stipulated by the Andalusian Ports Authority. “We want to increase the average length of the yachts which can enter the port by making the berths at least 15 metres long, because people are buying bigger boats these days,” they explain. 
Other plans are to modernise the maintenance and repair facilities, create a dry dock which meets the minimum size requirements and provide services such as water, electricity, Internet and telecommunications for the yacht owners. Many of the existing buildings will be demolished and replaced with new ones, paving will be renewed and new urban furniture will be installed in pedestrian areas. 
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