A SPANISH island, which had been on the market for 30 years, has been purchased by a US-Cuban tycoon.
Alex Meruelo bought the Illa d’en Colom islet, off the coast of Menorca, for 3.2m euros through his company, Meruelo Investments.
But it wasn’t quite that simple, because he had to negotiate with the property’s 16 heirs, as well as outbid a French businessman to close the deal.
Despite rising property prices, the owner lowered his asking price on several occasions, dropping from six million euros in 2010.
The new owner is a businessman, born in New York to Cuban parents, who left the Caribbean island in the 1960s in search of a new life in the Big Apple.
After living in several cities across the country, the Meruelo family settled down in Los Angeles.
Alex Meruelo started his empire by acquiring a pizza chain, before expanding into the building and property sector in southern California.
His holding company now encompasses electricity firms, plus television and hotel chains such as SLS Las Vegas, as well as the former Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
He is also the first American of Hispanic origin to acquire an NBA team, with a majority shareholding in the Atlanta Hawks.
The original proprietor, Antonio Roca Álvarez bought the island in 1904 for the equivalent of around 47 euros.
It features a beautiful landscape with two beaches, Tamarell and Arenal d’en Moro.
There is a country house on the island, as well as a 100sq/m summer home and a wooden cabin.
There is running water but no connection to the electricity grid, since everything is run by solar energy.
The islet is part of the Albufera des Grau natural park, which keeps a tight rein on development or reforms of any kind.
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