Operación Chamartín: Carmena Cuts Number Of Homes By 75%

11 May 2016 – Cinco Días

Manuela Carmena, the mayoress of Madrid, has made her proposal for Operación Chamartín. Almost 25 years after the first plans were outlined, the team from Ahora Madrid revealed its plan on Tuesday, in an “open document”, according to the councillor, although the details have not been agreed or discussed with the site’s property developer, Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), or with the other authorities involved. The Town Hall thinks that it should take charge of the city’s plans and so has presented this document to serve as a basis for negotiations.

The Town Hall has drastically reduced the number of homes in its plan, called Madrid Puerta Norte. From the 17,000 homes planned by the current developer, the Town Hall projects 4,600 homes (of which 1,000 will be social housing), representing a reduction of 75%. It also decreases the planned space allocated to tertiary use, by 15%, to 1.1 million sqm.

One of the points that will cause controversy, the buildability rate, is maintained at 1.05 m2, but that is because its calculation excludes all railway and road land, which means that the number of homes resuting from the calculation is significantly lower. Even so, sources in the sector say that the regional regulations approved in 2002 require the calculation of this ratio to include the railway land.

Carmena also proposes a business hub around Chamartín train station, whose profits would be used to finance the remodelling of the infrastructure for the Metro, roads and the station itself.

The last attempt to obtain approval for this urban development was undertaken last year, when the team led by Ana Botella (PP) approved the partial plan presented by the developer DCN (controlled by BBVA (75%) and Grupo San José (25%)) although it never received the green light from the Town Hall authorities.

DCN owns the rights to 61.6% of the land belonging to Adif, thanks to a contest won by the developer in 1993, organised by the Socialist Government of Felipe González. The agreement with the railway administrator, for which it would receive up to €1,300 million, is due to terminate on 31 December 2016.

“I would like us to see this as a starting point, for achieving synergies, rather than as a finished document” said Carmena, who will send the proposal to the Ministry of Development, the Community of Madrid and the development company. “We cannot evaluate the project because we do not know anything about it”, said a spokesperson from DCN. Now it is time to see whether there are enough points for negotiation.

For this reason, the Town Hall has reduced the weight of the infrastructures. It has decreased the proposed number of Metro stations from three to one, excluded another planned Cercanías (local railway) station and diminished the slabs required to bury Chamartín’s tracks underground by 90%.

Carmena also proposes the construction of a business centre around Chamartín train station, which is owned by Adif, whose profits will be used to finance the North Junction, the Fuencarral Junction and the renovation of the station itself. In this context, two iconic 40-storey skyscrapers will be constructed for office use, along with other buildings containing between 20 and 40 floors.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake