Madrid Nuevo Norte: Carmena Unveils the Latest Plans

28 July 2018 – El País

More green spaces, sustainable transport and a new financial district (city), which is going to change the face of the Castellana over the next 20 years. The thoroughfare that crosses the north of Madrid is going to grow up around Chamartín station, which will become a large hub due to its proximity to the airport. The mayor of the city, Manuela Carmena, having reached an agreement with the Minister for Development, José Luis Ábalos, the Community of Madrid and the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) presented the Madrid Nuevo Norte project, also known as Operación Chamartín, on Friday. It is going to be one of the largest urban planning developments in Europe, and its aim is to launch the Spanish capital into the 21st century.

In numbers, Madrid Nuevo Norte is going to involve the renovation of an area spanning 2,600 km2, where the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), the Town Hall, the Ministry of Development and the Community of Madrid are going to build a financial centre with large green spaces, modern buildings for latest generation offices and a new train station, which will be at the heart of the new financial district.

The future Chamartín station will become a domestic and international hub. Its strategic position, given its proximity to the Madrid-Barajas airport, will allow for journeys in record time. Adif is considering creating a direct connection between the station and the airport. The public company controlled by the Ministry of Development also announced that it is going to work on a direct connection between Chamartín and Atocha train stations.

The new business centre will be home to three skyscrapers, one of which will stand 250 m high, the tallest in Spain. The project is being inspired by the north of Europe from an urban planning perspective (experts highlight the similarities with the new financial district in Amsterdam). Specifically, due to the coexistence of work areas and residential spaces. In fact, leisure areas and housing will be created in Madrid’s new city. The idea is to build a centre that will be “open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”, according to explanations provided by the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo (Podemos).

The project will divide the space into four zones: Chamartín station, the business centre and the neighbourhoods of Malmea-San Roque-Tres Olivos and Las Tablas Oeste. In total, the Town Hall, which has led the project and  the negotiations with the private operators, has ensured that up to 20% of all the homes built in the area will be social housing properties (compared with 10% proposed by Ana Botella’s previous plan) (…).

In terms of the timings, the Town Hall expects to raise the project to the plenary this year. Nevertheless, the Community of Madrid still needs to approve several reports, including the environmental study, which is mandatory. The Community of Madrid is expected to approve the plan next year. If so, the first bricks will be laid in three or four years time. According to estimates from the property developers, this project will generate 200,000 jobs and involve an investment of €6 billion.

Original story: El País (by Luca Costantini)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Valencia Protects Residential Use of 2,250 Buildings in the Special Plan for Ciutat Vella

26 July 2018 – Inmodiario

The Special Protection Plan (PEP) for Ciutat Vella, in Valencia, is going to protect more than 2,250 properties that constitute the predominantly residential area in which “the compatibility of hotel use and residential use is not admissible. The professional use of tourist apartments is not permitted in any of them”.

That is according to the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, Vicent Sarrià, who was speaking at an information session aimed at local residents to share with them the document that is currently in its public consultation phase. Sarrià highlighted that it is the first plan that has involved active participation workshops, in which different groups from the district have intervened.

“One of the most important of the many challenges that the PEP for Ciutat Vella was meant to respond to was to maintain the residential fabric and recover the population, limiting the “tertiarisation” of the district and containing the expansion of tourist apartments”, said Sarrià, who explained that whilst the plan was being drafted and processed, “the granting of new licences was suspended, which stopped new requests in their tracks; that situation will continue until the definitive approval of the plan”.

Moreover, he added that the PEP “has responded by protecting the residential use of the majority of the buildings in the Carme neighbourhood, and most of the El Pilar (Velluters), Mercat and Seu Xerea districts”.

In this vein, he recalled that with the plan in force, “any residential building was susceptible to being converted into a hotel or tourist apartments”. “By contrast”, he continued, “the PEP removes that urban planning compatibility, except for in the Sant Francesc area, prohibiting its implementation and whereby ensuring the maintenance of its existing use and with it, the population of the historical centre” (…).

Original story: Inmodiario 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena Works With Property Owners To Design Madrid’s Office Supply

6 February 2017 – Cinco Días

The Town Hall of Madrid, led by Manuela Carmena, and large property owners and companies in the real estate sector, which are grouped together into the Spanish Office Association (AEO), have committed to creating a working group to define the future model for the office market in Spain’s capital.

Last week, José Manuel Calvo, Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, held a meeting with most of the members of the AEO in which he appeared willing to create a working group to establish collaboration between the Administration and the private sector, according to a statement made on Wednesday by the Association.

The AEO includes large office owners such as BBVA, Mapfre, Mutua Madrilieña, Pontegadea (the family office owned by Amancio Ortega, the founder of Inditex), Repsol, Acciona and Telefónica, together with large real estate companies such as Merlin Properties, Colonial, GMP, La Finca, Torre Rioja and international funds such as GreenOak, Blackstone and Iba Capital Partners, amongst others.

Over the next few months, the Councillor will present a study “which will allow them to lay the foundations to create a working group between the sector and the other parties involved, with the aim of facilitating the design of a rational future model, which will strengthen and improve the supply of offices in Madrid”, said sources at the AEO in a statement.

Sources from the companies that attended the meeting highlighted the opportunity to hold conversations with the Town Hall’s Head of Town Planning. They also said that Calvo has committed to working together with the Community of Madrid and the Central Government, in a combined effort, to try to attract to Madrid some of the companies that are leaving London due to Brexit.

The politician also reminded the businessmen about the town planning matters that are still pending at the Town Hall. Amongst other items, he explained his efforts to unblock Operación Chamartín, promoted by Distrito Castellana Norte (controlled by BBVA) and his commitment to build a major office nucleus close to Chamartín station, once it has been refurbished.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena & DCN Revive Operación Chamartín

6 February 2017 – El Confidencial

After a year and a half of misunderstandings, the Town Hall of Madrid and Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), the property developer behind Operación Chamartín, have managed to see eye to eye. And in this vein, the two parties are now working to finalise an agreement that should allow the plans to be unblocked this year.

According to several sources familiar with the talks, the Town Hall led by Manuela Carmena, the Ministry of Development and the shareholders of DCN (BBVA and San José) are convinced that the long-awaited plan to develop the area in the north of the capital will have received all of their blessings by the end of this year.

The intermediary role played by the new Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna, has reportedly been key in arriving at this point. Since taking office last November, his priority has been to unblock this project, which is crucial for Adif (…), which owns the majority of the land on which Operación Chamartín will be developed.

In fact, one of the first points of the agreement has been to restore the project’s initial dimensions, in other words, the land covering more than 3.1 million m2 upon which DCN had planned to construct 16,000 homes and which the Town Hall of Madrid cut in half with its proposal for Puerta Norte. (…).

The second major agreement involves maintaining the average buildability ratio of 1.05, which will be achieved by concentrating the tallest buildings in one area: the main financial district. This will allow the heights of the buildings in other areas to be reduced, such as in the residential areas. It also means that there will be hardly any buildings in the northern most area of the plot, on the land bordering the neighbourhood of Fuencarral, where large green areas are planned.

First agreement and next steps

The next meeting will be held (…) on 16 February to firm up the broad outline of the agreement. Once this meeting has been held, the Town Hall believes that it will be able to draw the sketches for Operación Chamartín, or, at least, complete them after one more meeting.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that this will be a preliminary agreement and all of the parties will have to negotiate further to determine the details (…).

If the conversations progress as planned, they may give rise to a set of revised plans by the middle of the year. From that moment on, the whole administrative process will come into play: and in order to accelerate it, the idea is to conduct it through a series of modifications to the Partial Plan and General Town Planning Plan, which means that all of the blessings should have been given by the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.

The councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo, said that concentrating the development’s tertiary activity (offices, hotels and retail) between Chamartín station and the M-30 will still form a fundamental part of the plan. That is where a major business centre will be constructed, which will be connected to the Cuatro Torres complex – an idea that was included in Calvo’s proposal for Madrid Puerta Norte. (…).

Meanwhile, BBVA and San José maintained that construction work will begin on the plots of land that are closest to Chamartín station, given that the development of that whole area will take two decades and will be completed in various phases (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake