13 November 2018 – Levante EMV
“Second-hand urban land with a surface area of 10,893 m2 and a buildability of 5,514 m2. Located on the outskirts of Xàtiva, in a quiet area”. That advert has been circulating for months on several real estate websites for a portion of the land where the historical San Jorge Paper Mill used to be located – a dismantled factory complex and a symbol of the former industrial splendour of the city and, until the middle of the 20th century, one of the most important emporiums in the country.
With the crisis, the plot for sale, which is residential in nature, became part of the portfolio of Banco Sabadell’s real estate division, although a promotion is marketing it for just €65,600: equivalent to €8/m2. The amount has decreased by 47% since the asset was transferred. After its reclassification 13 years ago, the plots were appraised at a price twenty times higher, at €170/m2, a figure that is closer to the current market average. A few metres away, on the industrial estate, commercial and industrial use plots half the size are being sold for €1.5 million.
The different buildings that used to make up the San Jorge Paper Mill occupy two urban plots that, according to the cadastral records, span 65,000 m2. The largest, measuring 54,000 m2, was seized and adjudicated by the court in 2017 to Sareb, the bad bank created to absorb the toxic real estate assets. The property no longer appears in the entity’s public catalogue in Xàtiva.
At the height of the real estate boom, a company administered by a former colleague of Alfonso Rus in the PP, condemned for fraud, managed to persuade the department run by the now imprisoned Rafael Blasco to reclassify 73,000 m2 of land in the factory complex from industrial to residential for the construction of 310 homes. That operation revalued the land by €10 million: Caixa Catalunya appraised the land at €12.4 million and signed a mortgage loan amounting to €6.1 million with the property developer of the PAI, which had previously purchased the land for just €2.4 million.
In the process of being protected
The municipal government of Xàtiva has definitively buried the failed urban planning progress during this legislature. Nevertheless, for the time being, the Town Hall’s plans do not include the option of following in the footsteps of the former convent of Santa Clara and acquiring the land of the paper mill, founded in 1932 by Gregorio Molina. Municipal sources emphasise that the land of the former industrial company is still considered to be for “undeveloped low-density residential” use, although there is no intention to develop any project on the site for now.
The Paper Mill, which is in the process of being declared an Asset of Local Importance and of having its protection status expanded, is home to the largest brick chimney in the Community of Valencia, as well as a mill and a light factory. Its warehouses, gadgets and other components of industrial heritage were going to be demolished by the property developer of the former PAI. The land for sale also served as a paintball battlefield a few years ago (…).
Original story: Levante EMV (by S. Gómez)
Translation: Carmel Drake