1 September 2017 – El País
The Town Hall of Barcelona has acquired three plots of land on the site of the former La Escocesa industrial complex, in the neighbourhood of Poblenou, for €10.1 million. As a result, the Town Hall now owns 93% of what used to be the former factory, where it plans to build social housing and public facilities. The remaining 7% is still owned by Sareb, although the Town Hall has expressed its intention to buy that stake as well.
The Town Hall already owned 43% of the site, which used to house workshops for artistic creation. The purchase of an additional 50% from Banco Santander and the real estate firm Altamira on Tuesday was made possible by the fact that the centre was declared a Site of Local Cultural Interest in 2006 and for that reason, the Town Hall was able to exercise its preferential purchase right. For the time being, only the two internal patios and two buildings are classified as public facilities. The Town Hall’s Councillor for Housing, Josep María Montaner, said on Tuesday that the purchase represented a new initiative “against the process of gentrification in the neighbourhood”. Montaner explained that the Town Hall plans to construct 81 luxury flats, which will be used for social housing.
The deputy mayor of Urban Planning, Janet Sanz, said that public housing needs to be built “to avoid residents being driven out of their neighbourhoods due to rises in rental prices”. Sanz said that the purchase would allow the recovery of the project to transform Calle Pere IV and “to reactivate and transform the 22@ project, which had been suspended”.
In addition to public housing, the Town Hall will expand the artistic and cultural facilities. The 22@ coordination committee will open a participative process, which will begin in October. Residents, business people and universities will be invited to submit proposals for the renovation of La Escocesa. The participative process will conclude in 2018 and the Town Hall estimates that the conversion work will take eight years (…).
Original story: El País (by Alfonso L. Congostrina)
Translation: Carmel Drake