2 February 2015 – Expansión
BBVA and San José will invest €4,800 million in the Castellana Extension / Covering an area of more than 3 million sqm in the North of Madrid, it will be the largest real estate development project in Spain. An IPO has not been ruled out.
Investment of almost €6,000 million, an area of more than 3.11 million sqm, 20 years of planning and another 20 years of development – those are some of the dizzying figures encompassed by the Castellana Norte urban development project in Madrid, also known as Operation Chamartín or the Castellana Extension.
“It is a very unique, innovative project that will result in the strengthening of the local, regional and national economy. It is the only project of its kind anywhere in the world”, said Francisco Gonzalez, the Chairman of BBVA, on Friday as he presented the plans for the regeneration of the north of Madrid, which has been paralysed for years and which will be the largest real estate development project undertaken in Spain in the last two decades.
The financial institution is the owner of 75.5% of the company Castellana Norte Madrid, the developer behind the plan. The remaining shares are held by the San José Group, whose own shares soared by 8.5% in trading on Friday.
Homes and offices
The project includes the extension of the capital’s main thoroughfare, the Paseo de la Castellana, by 3.7 km and the movement underground of the railway tracks at Chamartín station. 17,000 homes will be built on this land, of which 10% will be subsidised in some way; a financial district covering almost one million square metres will also be constructed.
The company Castellana Norte will drive the regeneration of this area, alongside Chamartín station and its adjoining railway tracks. Thus, of the total investment (€5,974 million), the company will spend €1,300 million on infrastructure and another €3,500 million on the construction of buildings. A long way off of the €11,000 million projected in the initial plans devised for the area in 2008. “The previous project was based on estimated revenues and therefore associated investment when housing was worth 40% more (than it is now)” explained Antonio Béjar, the Chairman of Castellana Norte. “The current plan addresses the shortcomings of the past and will involve a significant degree of self-financing”, he added. Sources of funding may include the entry of a new partner into the company, the use of bank financing and even the IPO of the company.
Construction of this neighbourhood, designed in four areas, will take place over 20 years and will result in the creation of 120,000 new jobs. “The project will generate economic gains of more than €3,363 million for the public administrations”, confirmed the Town Hall of Madrid on Friday.
The developers hope that the various government bodies involved in the process (the Ministry of Development, the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall of Madrid) will formally approve the project during the next few months so that work can begin on the development “at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year”.
Sustainable travel will play an important role in the new urban development, which will include three new metro stations, two train stations and 12.8km of cycle lanes. 80% of the 3.114 million square metres of land (just under the permitted buildable area) will be used for public infrastructure projects, including space for green areas equivalent to 56 football pitches.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake