Nine Projects Planned in Barcelona Will Increase Tourist Capacity


24 August 2017

Developers planning four hotels, three guesthouses, a hostel and a block of apartments have requested permits in peripheral areas, the only areas allowed by the Colau plan.

While still waiting to discover what impact the terrorist attack of the 17th will have on the tourism sector, Barcelona had attracted new hotel investments. The nine projects will provide 900 beds and the developments are planned in peripheral neighbourhoods, the only areas in which the tourist accommodation plan that came into effect at the beginning of 2017 permits new accommodations.

Since then, the City Council has received nine license applications for projects in these areas, which are necessarily less attractive, being far removed from the principal tourist areas. The municipality has concluded that the projects all comply with the new municipal regulations put in place by the current mayor, Ada Colau.

The projects include four hotels, three guesthouses, a block of tourist apartments and a hostel, as the deputy mayor of urbanism, Janet Sanz, told Expansión.

The exact location of the hotels has not yet been determined. The only specific details that the municipal government provided were that the projects will be in Sants-Montjuïc, Horta-Guinardó, Sant Andreu, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi and Nou Barris, which will receive a guesthouse.

The Barcelona City Council has not provided any further details to date, although industry sources have given additional information on some of these projects.

The hotel with the greatest number of rooms, 200, will have four stars and will be in the neighbourhood of La Marina, in the district of Sants-Montjuïc, next to the fairground of Gran Via, at 40 Calle Alts Forns.

Another hotel, which will have one star and 70 rooms, will be located at 250 Meridiana, in the Sant Andreu district, near the La Sagrera interchange.

The new tourist accommodation regulations came after a moratorium that was imposed by Ada Colau in July 2015, just after being elected mayor. The measure prevented further licensing of hotels throughout the city, something that will now only be allowed in peripheral neighbourhoods. However, there were 72 projects that managed to circumvent the new regulations, because they had already previously acquired a license or certificate. Of these 72 hotels, about thirty have been opened and are managed by chains such as H10, Núñez i Navarro, Princess and Accor.

The new regulation divides Barcelona into four zones. In the first, which covers the most central and tourist areas, a policy of “de-growth” has been established: not only will new licenses not be granted, but, if one establishment closes, it cannot be replaced by another.

Zone 2, a first belt around the centre, is subject to a policy of “maintenance”: that is, no new accommodations will be created, but if an establishment closes, another would be allowed to take its place.

The growth of hotel spaces, in a “contained” way, will only be permitted in Zone 3. Projects must also meet other requirements, such as being located on wide streets and not exceeding a certain density threshold. The municipality will ascertain whether each project complies with regulations and if this is the case, it guarantees that the processing of the application will go forward. In Zone 3, regulations that are specific to the historical centres of the old municipalities that were eventually incorporated into Barcelona must also be considered.

Finally, Zone 4 includes three developing neighbourhoods that will also have their own urban regulations. They are La Marina, the future AVE station in La Sagrera and its surroundings, and the Poblenou neighbourhood, where the 22@ district was launched 15 years ago.

The effects of the plan

The tourism sector has assessed the Colau plan from different points of view. Initially, it opposed the plan, although the Barcelona Hotel Association has since softened its position because one of the effects of the regulations is that existing hotels will have much less competition.

Juan Gallardo, of Bric Consulting, predicts that, if the city maintains its attractiveness as a tourist destination, the plan could imply “a price increase”, which would be added to the price increases that occurred because of the moratorium.

The new regulation has been the subject of a total of 17 contentious-administrative appeals in the courts, although only one of them is demanding compensation from the municipality. If rulings are declared that are contrary to the Colau plan, the city council could be forced to rectify the plan and elaborate new regulations. The Barcelona Hotel Association is the author of one of the appeals because it believes that the regulatory reforms would force hotels in the centre of Barcelona that undertake renovations to reduce the number of rooms, which would condemn them to decline and eventual “decadence”, Gallardo pointed out.

Original Story: ProOrbyt Expansion – David Casals

Translation: Richard Turner