27 December 2018 – La Vanguardia
On Thursday, the Town Hall of Barcelona announced the completion of the purchase of a building located at number 7 Calle Encuny containing 114 protected homes. The property, located in the heart of the Marina del Prat Vermell neighbourhood, belonged to the entity Proviure CZF Parc d’Habitatges, a company formed by BBVA and the Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona (Consortium of the Zona France of Barcelona). “With this operation, we ensure that the housing block will not be sold to vulture funds”, said the mayor of the city, Ada Colau, who referred to the purchases that such investment groups have been carrying out in various cities.
The acquisition has involved an investment of €5.8 million by the Town Hall. This building is the largest that Ada Colau’s government has purchased to date, which so far in its mandate, has acquired another 21 entire blocks. In total, including this new property, the Town Hall has acquired 661 flats since 2015, which has involved a total disbursement of €64.12 million. “It takes a long time to build social housing units. And we have to respond to a problem that is worrying a lot of citizens”, said the mayor.
According to Colau, of the 114 flats that are going to be incorporated into the Town Hall’s public stock, around 59 are empty, but in a very good condition (the development was built in 2007), and so it is expected that around 30 will be incorporated into the social emergency pool in January, where around 480 family units are still waiting to be assigned a home.
“We need the Generalitat to start making housing policies in Barcelona”, said the mayor Colau, who has accused the regional government of not fulfilling its obligations in this regard. “The Town Hall takes care of 78% of the demand from the social emergency pool when it should be covering 40%. It is assuming a responsibility that corresponds to the Generalitat”, said Colau.
Original story: La Vanguardia (by Raúl Montilla)
Translation: Carmel Drake