Operación Chamartín: Carmena Cuts Homes & Offices By 50%

10 May 2016 – El País

On Tuesday, the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena will present her plans “to boost the development of the north of the city”, an “open document” prepared by municipal technicians, which amends and reduces the plans for Operación Chamartín. After working on the project for almost a year and refusing to negotiate with BBVA or San José, the Town Hall is effectively burying Distrito Castellana Norte. The Town Hall’s alternative plan, to which El País has had access to, maintains the buildability coefficient, but removes all of the roads and railways from the planned surface area calculations, which Distrito Castellana had taken into account. In this way, the profitable surface area for homes (17,000 were going to be built) and offices is cut in half. Carmena proposes undertaking the renovation of Chamartín train station, the Northern junction (Nudo Norte) and Fuencarral immediately, using public money, and taking Pasillo Verde (which runs from Atocha to Principe Pío) as an example.

Distrito Castellana Norte, the private project promoted by BBVA (75.5%) and the construction company San José (24.5%) forecasts investing €5,974 million to rebuild the 3,114,336 sqm area.

But the local government believes that the initiative should “be the responsibility of the Administration”, particularly given the dimensions of the area (311 hectares; by way of comparison, the Centro district covers 523 hectares). Thus, the Town Hall proposes “more weight in the public management” in the “largest town planning operation in Madrid”. And to this end, it proposes “the creation of a public urban consortium to develop the area to the south of the M-30”, leaving the initiative to the north of the motorway in the hands of private property developers.

BBVA and San José plan to extend the Paseo de la Castellana by 3.7 km to the north, and to construct 17,699 homes and a financial district with the tallest skyscraper in the European Union (70 floors), as well as five other towers, similar in height to the four towers already in place (45-57 floors). For this, they plan to apply a buildability coefficient of 1.05 sqm for every metre of land, thanks to the increase approved by the PP (before, that figure stood at 0.6).

The Northern junction and Fuencarral

The Town Hall’s plans respect that building density, but “exclude land relating to the road and railway networks from the calculations, as well as all land that is not necessary to undertake the operation or whose transformation is not planned”. As such, it would leave 1,440,387 sqm of space occupied by the M-30, the M-40 and railway infrastructure out of the operation, and instead proposes “continuing with its current use and rating”.

After these exclusions, the total surface area of the operation would be reduced to 1,744,549 sqm (of which 233,082 sqm correspond to Chamartín train station.

Therefore, applying the buildability coefficient, there would be 1,587,040 sqm of space for residential and commercial use. This would reduce the private project by half, which had calculated that there would be 3,261,000 sqm of profitable space (1,774,000 sqm for homes; 1,046,000 sqm for offices; 165,000 sqm for hotels; and 176,000, sqm for retail).

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Original story: El País (by Bruno García Gallo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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