Carmena: Town Hall In Talks With Wanda Over Edificio España

27 January 2016 – El Economista

At a press conference yesterday (Tuesday), the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, announced that the Town Hall of Madrid has made “a new proposal” to Wanda regarding its Edificio España project…and she added that she does not expect the Chinese investor group to abandon the project, given that it is continuing to participate in negotiations. (…).

Representatives from the Town Hall of Madrid reportedly met with the Chinese investor group last week and the conversations are on-going. (…).

At no point has the possibility of demolishing the façade and rebuilding it brick by brick been entertained, given that it is something that is actually technically unfeasible. The solution involves aligning legal compliance and maintaining the protected features, with the transformation of building that Wanda wants to undertake. (…).

Lots of options

In light of the widespread media attention, Carmena said that “our conversations with the group are on-going” and she added that the Town Hall “is very interested in the fact that this group may construct a hotel in Plaza de España”. (…).

The delegation pointed out that the protected features are not determined by the Town Hall, but rather by the Local Heritage Committee, in which the Town Hall participates and which is chaired by the Community of Madrid, which holds the majority. At the time, thhat body ruled that “it was feasible to undertake the building work, whilst maintaining the protected features”, in other words, it ruled that the proposal to demolish the façade was not an option. (…).

José Manuel Calvo, from the Department for Sustainable Urban Planning, insisted that the project was progressing “as normal”, given that talks are on-going with the company, just as they are with other companies. This normality manifests itself by the fact that the Town Hall has already prepared the compulsory detailed study and that it will process the initial approval as soon as the investor group gives them the go ahead. The Town Hall “will be delighted” to proceed. Following that approval, construction work may begin within two or three months.

The representative of the Department for Sustainable Urban Planning added that if the construction work begins, the Town Hall reserves the right to “secure guarantees” from Wanda to ensure the progress of the work. (…).

Meanwhile, Manuela Carmena answered that “of course she was unable” to guarantee that the renovation of Edificio España would be completed before the end of her term in office because she doesn’t even know how long the construction work will take. (…).

When asked about whether the Town Hall would be more flexible in the face of the hypothetical exit of the investor, Carmena answered that the Town Hall “is not afraid”, but does have a “responsibility” to ensure that Madrid is a more “beautiful and prosperous” city. (…).

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake