A declaration of intent between the company Heilsuthorp and Hrunamannahreppur municipality to establish a 200-apartment health village in Flúdir, south Iceland, was signed almost 12 months ago. However, investors are needed to back the project.
From Flúdir. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Organization has been completed in the municipality and now an apartment complex and a service center with relaxation and rehabilitation facilities are on the drawing board, visir.is.
It is estimated that up to 140 jobs can be created during the construction period. Once full operation has begun, more than 100 people can be employed by the health village in addition to 400 related jobs. The cost is estimated at ISK 5.5 billion (USD 44 million, EUR 29 million).
Árni Gunnarsson, one of Heilsuthorp’s executives, said the project has been presented to a few foreign investors but they were not prepared to fund Icelandic projects. However, others are reviewing the business plan and Chinese investors are planning to visit.
The project is also being considered by the Icelandic pension funds and labor unions. The Icelandic banks, on the other hand, are unwilling to participate. “Everything is closed there, even though the banks are bursting with money. There has been a lot of talk about assisting start-ups, but we haven’t been given access to any funds,” Gunnarsson said.
He has also met with President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. “He has been very helpful and done what he can. He and his wife know a lot of people and maybe something will come out of that.”
“I have told him not to worry because this isn’t an outvasion project, rather an invasion project,” Gunnarsson added, referring to Icelandic businessmen who made large investments abroad before the crisis and have since run into trouble.
Heilsuthorp was founded seven years ago and was originally planning to establish a health village in Spain with Spanish investors. However, their plans changed when the crisis hit and Flúdir was chosen as a new location.
“It is by far the best choice,” Gunnarsson said. “It has golf courses, an airport, greenhouses, horse rentals, abundance of hot and cold water and a very positive local authority. We will carry on because the project is already far ahead.”