27 June 2017 – Expansión
Valdebebas – one of the largest urban planning projects in the Community of Madrid, with a land surface area of 10.6 million m2 – has fired the starting gun for what is expected to become the city’s “new financial and technological district”.
“We have land spanning more than 1 million m2 (equivalent to the surface area of almost 140 football pitches) available for tertiary use. People talk about Castellana Norte, but there is no development in Spain quite like Valdebebas. It is already ready to welcome companies from London searching for new locations after Brexit and any other multi-national companies”, explains Marcos Sánchez, Managing Director of the Valdebebas Compensation Board, which represents the owners of the land. Market sources indicate that the land owners include Monthisa, Bisbel, Vivienda Económica, Celteo, Coindeco and Inmobiliaria Espacio.
This business park will comprise twenty blocks, with buildabilities ranging between 9,000 m2 and 110,000 m2. It will house buildings that have between five and fourteen storeys.
The director said that, although they have not yet started “to sell” Valdebebas as a destination for companies, international investors, funds and hotel chains have already expressed their interest in the development: “We are still in the preliminary conversation phases. Until now, contact has been made because interested parties have been approaching us”.
For Sánchez, the aim of Valdebebas is to attract fin-tech companies and others relating to that sector. Moreover, it has the capacity to accommodate between three and four hotels and restaurant brands. “We have direct access to the airport and are well connected to the city centre. It is an unbeatable location in Europe and the world”.
In this sense, it is worth remembering that a bridge is being constructed to connect this area with Barajas Airport – T4, with a forecast investment of more than €20 million. “We have already moved earth and started building the foundations on both sides. The work, which was started in February, is going well and will be finished within two years”, he said.
Valdebebas has several advantages over the potential Operación Chamartín: the immediacy – with “windows of opportunity that can be benefitted from now” – its size and location, according to Sánchez. “Castellana Norte is our natural competitor; despite that we want that site to be developed as soon as possible and in the best way possible because we will all end up winning as a result”, he said.
In terms of the legal position, Sánchez acknowledges that, although Valdebebas has always been very judicialised – construction of between 800 and 1,000 homes has been suspended following a ruling by the Supreme Court – almost 100% of the residential property has been sold, the population already stands at 10,000 people and is set to reach 18,000 by the end of the year. In his opinion, it is “perfectly feasible” to reach agreements before the urbanisation is completed. “All of this administrative and judicial chaos will end when the urbanisation is handed over in two years time”, he said.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake