13 February 2016 – Expansion
Ada Colau´s moratorium applied to the hotel sector in Barcelona in July last year did not catch the market by surprise, since a stoppage on the granting of new licenses was foreseen on her electoral program, while the hotel industry of the city was being reassessed. What surprised and angered the industry was the fact that the measure would affect projects already underway. Drivers of these establishments were quick to wield legal certainty to carry out their plans and threatened the City Council with highly expensive sues. The moratorium affected more than forty projects, some of them at a very early stage but others whose paperwork had been worked for months. Many of them alleged back then that they held a urban certificate legally binding the council to accept licenses for processing and stating they were allowed to carry on with the project. The City Council, which at first denied this, has been six months later forced to accept these license applications. In total, seven requests have been accepted for processing, which will now come under consideration for compliance with the regulations. Among these seven projects we find Emin Capital, which bought Torre Agbar to open a Grand Hyatt, and Me que projects by Melia at Caspe Street. Two months earlier, Colau team had already unlocked Meridia Capital project in the former headquarters of Henkel and that of Amancio Ortega in the old headquarters of Banesto, where the opening of a hotel with Iberostar is planned. In addition to the ongoing projects that were affected by the measure, the moratorium adopted by Barcelona en Comú has stopped the investments in new hotel projects. Another immediate consequence was the rise in the value of existing establishments. Unable to open new hotels, investors have directed towards those which already had a license, those which have raised their sales expectations.
The sector is now awaiting the development of the plan being made by Ada Colau on hotel regulation by neighborhood. Hotel entrepreneurs are worried that Mayoress has spoken of a possible “decrease” in some areas.
Original story: Expansion (by Marisa Anglés)
Translation: Aura Ree