Madrid to Completely Rebuild La Paz Hospital Over Next 10 Years

7 March 2018 – El Confidencial

The Community of Madrid is going to carry out a comprehensive remodelling project of Hospital La Paz. Construction work will begin in 2019 and will involve the expansion of the hospital’s existing surface area by 25% or 50,000 m2, with four new buildings and a hotel for patients’ families. The construction work is going to be performed in four phases and will begin next year, according to the President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, with the aim of ensuring that La Paz “continues to be the best hospital in Spain and one of the best in the world”. The forecast investment will amount to €359 million and will be paid for by the Community.

The size of the reference hospital in Madrid will thereby be increased from 190,842 m2 to 238,198 m2 following the remodelling project, of which 205,538 m2 will be newly built and another 32,660 m2 will be reformed. New green space spanning 10,250 m2 is also going to be created and new roads will be built. (…). The first phase of work is due to be awarded to the contractor(s) in January 2019. (…). La Paz will not reduce is patient activity at any point during the construction period.

The first phase will begin following the award of the construction work in January and will involve the demolition of the North Building, the Teaching building, generators, the parking lot and the Human Resources department (29,508 m2) to build the new General Hospital and a parking lot for employees (109,967 m2), which will be operational from 2022.

The second phase involves the demolition of the General Hospital (68,680 m2) to make space for ambulatory services, day hospitals, rehabilitation and dialysis services (59,428 m2), which will be completed in 2025.

For the third phase, the General Emergency area and the Traumatology Hospital will be demolished (21,884 m2) and the new Maternity-Children’s Hospital buildings will be constructed with an area for ancillary services (38,278 m2), which will be operational from 2027.

In the fourth and final phase, part of the former Maternity-Children’s Hospital will be demolished and other spaces, such as the Maternity Tower (24,267 m2) and a service area, will be reformed. That final phase will be completed in 2029 (…).

According to the regional Government, the new hospital will provide patients and families with “more comfort, privacy and security, with more individual rooms, larger waiting rooms and the creation of recreational spaces, amongst other benefits” (…).

The Investment Plan for Hospital Infrastructures in the Public Network of the Community of Madrid is going to allocate most of its €1 billion budget to reforming the seven largest hospitals in the region: 12 de Octubre, La Paz, Gregorio Marañón, Ramón y Cajal, Clínico San Carlos, La Princesa and Niño Jesús; on which more than €700 million will be spent.

The plan also includes forecast investment of €250 million to renovate another 14 hospitals: Móstoles, Príncipe de Asturias, Severo Ochoa, Getafe, Fuenlabrada, Alcorcón, Virgen de La Poveda, Virgen de la Fuenfría, Guadarrama, El Escorial, Hospital Central de la Cruz Roja, Santa Cristina, José Germain and Rodríguez Lafora. Moreover, it plans to invest approximately €42 million to convert the former Hospital Puerta de Hierro into a new and modern hospital centre for the care and functional recovery of patients.

Original story: El Confidencial (by I. G.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cifuentes To Value Plot Next To Inditex’s Facilities In Meco At c. €100/m2

23 January 2017 – El Confidencial

Around €100/m2. That is the valuation that Nuevo Arpegio, the public company that manages land in the Community of Madrid, is going to assign to the plot that it owns in the town of Meco, next to Inditex’s large logistics centre. The Galician company has already expressed its interest in operating on the adjacent site. The regional Government, chaired by Cristina Cifuentes, approved the partial modification of the urban plans for Meco in December, which was necessary to reorganise the 1.93 million m2 space and protect the wetland containing protected birds that has been artificially created in the area.

Having taken this step, Nuevo Arpegio is now finalising the process to sell a plot measuring 100,000 m2, which according to sources in the autonomous government, could have an asking price of €10 million. The plot is the ideal site for the Galician company to expand its facilities, which already occupy 300,000,m2 next door. Inditex has been expressing interest in this plot since 2014, although officially it has not revealed its cards. Meanwhile, Nuevo Arpegio wants to generate revenues in every way it can and is putting a large volume of land up for sale across the Community of Madrid. (…).

Sources in the real estate sector indicate that, in theory, offering the land for an asking price of €100/m2 would represent an “attractive” offer, although urbanisation costs would cause the price to rise to €130/m2 or €140/m2. The same sources say that Inditex has continued to show interest in these plots adjacent to its large logistics centre to enable it to expand it, but it is possible that Inditex will not purchase the land itself, but rather allow a real estate developer that specialises in logistics to buy the land and then lease the facilities that its constructs.

The Corredor del Henares is still one of the most attractive areas in Madrid. Of the 45 operations closed in the logistics market in 2015 (data for 2016 has not been published yet), 26 were recorded along the A-2 axis, covering a surface area of 213,000 m2 and accounting for 56% of the total. The municipalities of Cabanillas del Campo, Alcalá and Azuqueca de Henares were in most demand, accounting for 40% of the total volume leased, according to a report from the consultancy firm CBRE. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by David Fernández)

Translation: Carmel Drake

US Investor Cordish Presents New Leisure Mega-Complex For Madrid

2 December 2016 – Expansión

After the fever of Eurovegas in Madrid, the fiasco of the Gran Scala macro-complex in the Los Monegros desert, the mirage of El Reino de Don Quijote in Ciudad Real, another mega leisure complex project is now being planned for Spain, in the form of Live! Resorts Madrid. The proposal has been presented by the US property developer Cordish Companies, and according to comments made by the group’s representatives yesterday, it is backed by the group’s extensive 100-year history and the rigourousness of its modus operandi. “This is a completely private initiative. We are not asking for any subsidies or regulatory changes. The regulatory framework is perfectly adequate for the project”, said Joseph Weinberg, one of the group’s partners.

Cordish plans to invest €2,200 million initially to launch this leisure and entertainment giant, although the total spend may exceed €3,000 million in subsequent phases if the plans are extended beyond the original project. According to the property developer, this initiative would create 56,433 new jobs.

The family group, founded by Louis Cordish in 1910, has four generations under its belt. It has chosen the Madrilenian municipality of Torres de Alameda, in the Corredor de Henares, as the stage for the development of the “largest integrated entertainment centre in Europe”. “We think that Madrid is the ideal location in Europe for the complex”.

To this end, Cordish has purchased a plot of land measuring 134 hectares and has registered information about the project with the Ministry of Economy, Employment and Finance. It is waiting for the Community of Madrid to study the feasibility of the plans and to open a public competition inviting other investors to submit their proposals. This process, which may take around six months, needs to happen before the first phases of the project can start, which are expected to take between “18 and 24 months”.

Weinberg wanted to differentiate his Live! Resorts from the frustrated initiative of the magnate Sheldon Adelson, who also planned to build a Eurovegas in Madrid, and he emphasised the “family nature” of the proposal. “The gambling area will only account for between 5% and 10% of the project”.

Weinberg said that the plan includes more than 100,000 m2 of space allocated to shops and leisure; four and five-star hotels, with 2,700 rooms; 275,000 m2 of space for three conference centres; and 45,000 m2 of space for offices.

Weinberg said that the group has own funds as well as experience raising financing. In addition, he appeared open to the idea of forming a joint venture with large local and international hotel chains for the management of the hotels.

The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, acknowledged yesterday that the regional government has held “some conversations” with the company and added that it is a “solvent, trustworthy and powerful group”.

According to Cifuentes, this project does not bear “any resemblance” to Eurovegas and she highlighted that, in contrast to Adelson’s project, Cordish has already officially registered the proposal and is not demanding any regulatory changes. She also said that whilst Eurovegas involved the construction of casinos, 80% of this proposal is dedicated to leisure and “only a small portion” to gambling.

Nevertheless, the Chairman of the Community of Madrid appeared “cautious” and warned that the initiative will be analysed “with the greatest care”. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Community Of Madrid Will Buy Homes From Banks For Social Housing Stock

22 November 2016 – El Mundo

Next year, the regional government of Madrid, led by Cristina Cifuentes, will spend €10 million buying homes in the free market to incorporate them into the stock owned by the Social Housing Agency – the new Ivima. “We hope to buy properties from Sareb and other financial institutions with significant “stock””, said the Community of Madrid’s Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Rollán (pictured above, right).

According to his calculations, it currently takes around six months for the autonomous Administration to hand over the keys to a social housing property to a claimant (…). The collapse of the real estate market means that the cost of constructing a new social housing property through the Public Administration and the cost of development by a private property developer is almost the same.

“We want to acquire around 60 or 70 homes, depending on the final price. The idea is to take advantage of the exceptional circumstances that we are facing at the moment, to facilitate access to housing for people who need it, as quickly as possible”, he said. (…).

Agreements with Bankia and La Caixa

Despite the sale of almost 3,000 homes to an overseas investment fund, the Social Housing Agency owns a significant real estate stock, comprising 23,690 properties of which, approximately 300 are free market properties “which are being repaired or which belong to the Emergency Social Housing Plan. In other words, they are reserved for use by citizens in the event of a catastrophe or emergency”, said a spokesperson for the regional government.

The regional government has been in conversations with Bankia and La Caixa since the beginning of its term in office to try to reach an agreement about the use of this housing stock, which cannot be put on the market.

“This is the first time that the Community of Madrid is going to undertake an operation of this kind”, said a regional spokesperson. Previous regional governments put in place measures to facilitate citizens’ access to housing, but none of them went this far.

Nevertheless, the Socialist spokesman for Housing, Daniel Viondi, does not share the Minister’s enthusiasm. (…). The parliament member says that the Minister has not specified “how many homes there are going to be, where they will be located or how much they will cost, and furthermore, there won’t be any regional budgets available until at least March”. (…).

“Cifuentes is turning the Community of Madrid into an estate agent. It costs more to buy such properties than build them from scratch and she is missing out on the opportunity to create thousands of jobs and to give the construction sector the boost it needs. For every €1 million invested in public housing, economic activity amounting to €6 million is generated”, he said, according to his data. (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Jaime G. Treceño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cifuentes Presents New Land Act For Community Of Madrid

25 October 2016 – Expansión

Yesterday, the President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes (pictured above), submitted the draft bill for the new Law governing Urban Planning and Land in the Community of Madrid, an initiative long demanded by the Madrilenian real estate sector. The bill aims to clarify and organise the management of urban planning in the region, whereby replacing the existing regional Land Act, which dates back to 2001.

During its 15 years of life, the existing text has been partially modified 15 times, which, as the Ministry of the Environment, Local Administration and Land Planning itself admits, has ended up making it “difficult to understand and interpret”.

“Circumstances have changed considerably over the last 15 years and so the content of the Land Act has been completely distorted”, acknowledged Cifuentes yesterday during the presentation of the new draft bill. “This new law has been put together as a single piece of legislation to give coherence to the urban planning rules”, she added.

The regional Government plans to submit the Draft Bill to the Assembly before the end of the year and, according to Cifuentes, it hopes to obtain “the maximum consensus and support possible”. It is something that seems almost impossible, taking into account that eight months ago both the PSOE and Podemos left the technical and political tables that have been managing the text presented yesterday.

This was not helped either by the fact that Ciudadanos decided to put “an end” to these working tables in a unilateral way “to look for a new consensus”, according to an announcement last week from its spokesman in the Assembly, Ignacio Aguado. The orange party’s idea is to look for maximum political support to approve the law, and so it is advocating that the work of these tables be transferred to the specific report about the Land Act, which already exists in the Assembly.

“We want a Law that represents the consensus of all of the political groups and not another piece of steam roller legislation from the PP”, said Aguado. “Ciudadanos is going to fight to ensure that there is real citizen participation and genuine transparency in the way that urban plans are prepared. We want to put an end to the current opacity”, said the spokesman. (…).

New elements

In addition to the goal of making urban planning “more agile and transparent”, the Draft Bill presented yesterday by Cifuentes includes some important innovations. The most notable is its commitment to urban renovation and regeneration, compared with the model of expansionist urban planning under the previous legislation.

In this sense, one of the most innovative aspects is the fact that cities in the region will have the opportunity to undertake the renovation of large areas without the need to modify their General Plans. (…).

The new text retains the categories of urban land – buildable and non-buildable, but eliminates the category of unsectorised buildable land, which becomes non-buildable common land. Nothing can be built on this kind of land, under any circumstances, unless its classification is changed in the general plan upon request by the town halls themselves. “The aim is to achieve a more sustainable urban planning approach that avoids unnecessary urban planning developments”, say sources at the Ministry.

Other novelties include the creation of a Simplified General Urban Plan, designed for towns with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants and budgets of less than €6 million. Those towns may choose to adopt this framework, which is more flexible and agile than an ordinary plan, provided that the work focuses on historical centres and does not include any new developments. This framework may be applied to almost half of the 179 municipalities in the region.

Original story: Expansión (byLuis M. De Ciria and Carlota G. Velloso)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cifuentes Files Appeal Against Suspension Of Operación Chamartín

3 August 2016 – Expansión

The Community of Madrid has submitted an administrative appeal against the decision taken by the Town Hall of Madrid on 25 May to cancel Operación Chamartín and replace it with its own project, Madrid Puerta Norte. The Community of Madrid considers that that decision was “arbitrary” and that it will damage the economy of the city.

The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuences, has indicated that the appeal “has been presented on the understanding that the decision will result in a financial loss for all Madrilenians”. And she added that the Government that she leads “wants to protect the interests of Madrilenians against the withdrawal of the project” given that, in her opinion “it has not been agreed by any of the administrations involved” and “cuts the number of (planned) infrastructures and jobs in half”.

Cifuentes explained that, although Adif and the company promoting the project (DCN) have also submitted their own appeals, they are different legal initiatives, motivated by different interests.


Moreover, Cifuentes denied that her appeal is an “attack on the autonomy” of the Town Hall and assured that it will not harm the relationship between Manuela Carmena’s team and the Community of Madrid. “It is not a matter of confrontation between the administrations”, said Cifuentes, who noted that, during the last year, 17 agreements have been signed between the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall of Madrid, which represent “indisputable proof of our good will” in our on-going search to benefit all citizens.

Original story: Expansión (by Esther Martín)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Boadilla del Monte Sees A Flurry Of House Construction & Price Rises

13 June 2016 – El Confidencial

It’s been just over six months since, in October 2015, the Community of Madrid approved the General Urban Plan for Boadilla del Monte. The decision by Cristina Cifuentes released all of the construction permits that had been pending approval and gave the green light, once again, to the sale of land in one of the richest municipalities in Spain. It also marked the end of the development plans designed by the former mayor of Boadilla, Arturo González Panero, “the Albondiguilla”, imputed for the Gürtel case and against whom the prosecutor has just ordered 40 years in prison.

Since that Wednesday in October (28 October 2015), Boadilla del Monte has been a genuine real estate hotbed. Land sales have multiplied and the cranes have arrived in abundance. Buyers’ appetites have been so great that off-plan sales are practically covered and the first price rises have started to be seen – in some cases, close to double digits – for the new projects that are coming onto the market.

“The stars have aligned positively in Boadilla del Monte. Land there had been consolidated and developed and the only outstanding item was the approval of the General Plan, which was delayed due to the General Election. Once that had been ratified and blessed by the Community of Madrid, the new developments had the legal security to start without any problems”, explained Luis Corral, CEO of Foro Consultores.

The expert also thinks that the appeal of Boadilla has benefitted from the paralysis that, by contrast, its neighbour Pozuelo de Alarcón is experiencing. There, the new areas of development are currently awaiting the approval of a series of municipal infrastructures, such as the famous rain water collector, which is essential to meet the needs of the new neighbours. The infrastructure requires an investment of almost €60 million – double the amount predicted in 2007 –the cooperative owners that bought the land have to cover around €30 million and the other owners of the land and the Town Hall have to cover the remaining €25 million.

“The suspension of the largest development in Pozuelo has meant that much of the demand with medium-high purchasing power is moving to neighbouring towns such as Majadahonda and Boadilla del Monte”, said Samuel Población, the National Director of Residential and Land at the consultancy CBRE.

Price rises

(…). According to Luis Corral…”a family home or chalet in Boadilla costs around €450,000, on average, compared with between €700,000 and €1,000,000 in Pozuelo…”.

Although the supply of land is greater, the pressure from buyers due to the natural demand in Boadilla del Monte and the unmet demand in Pozuelo, will start to have an impact on prices. According to data from Foro Consultores, less than a year ago, in July 2015, the average price for chalets under cooperative regimes amounted to around €1,400 /sqm, whereas now the price has increased by around 7% to €1,500/sqm.

The same has happened with direct promotions. In July 2015, the price per sqm amounted to around €1,500 and now, it has increased to €1,600/sqm. In other words, prices have risen by 6%. At first sight, these prices do not seem at all exorbitant, however the homes are all very large and so the final price is not suitable for all budgets.

Four hot spots in Boadilla

In this Madrilenian municipality, one of the richest in Spain, there are four hot spots where all of the real estate activity is happening: El Pastel, Las Cárcavas, Cortijo Sur and Cortijo Norte. (…).

“El Pastel has been completely urbanised, it is full of cranes and families are already living there. Las Cárcavas is slightly behind, but the first homes are already being handed over and there are also a few people living there, whilst Cortijo Sur is also urbanised and under construction and the first homes will be handed over within the next few weeks. Cortijo Norte is the most delayed, it has not been urbanised yet, although work has begun on the urbanisation project. Family homes are being constructed in every area”, explained Luis Corral. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Elena Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cifuentes Finalises Sale Of Land In Meco (Madrid) To Inditex

4 April 2016 – El Confidencial

Arpegio, the Community of Madrid’s public land management company, may receive a cash inflow this year if it manages to finalise the sale of a plot of land measuring 100,000 m2 that it owns in the town of Meco, just next to Inditex’s large logistics centre in the region. The land would be an ideal site for the Galician company to expand its facilities and Arpegio wants to generate profits from the plot, and whereby benefit from the investor boom surrounding such assets. Sources at the regional Government say that Inditex has expressed an interest in taking over the land, but Arpegio needs to resolve certain environmental problems that arose in this area precisely when Inditex first opened its centre there (in April 2007) and the R-2 highway was constructed, and a wetland area was created, which is now home to thousands of birds of 165 different species, many of which are protected.

Whilst the regional Government led by Cristina Cifuentes has been working to auction off this plot, the Town Hall of Meco is planning to amend the partial plan for the SUS-AE1 sector in May, required to protect the wetland and change the classification of this land, which is currently industrial. Inditex has declined to confirm or deny whether it is interested in the land, which according to market sources, could be sold for between €100 million and €120 million. Meanwhile, the fund Gazelly has already taken steps to try to buy another 300,000 m2 plot next to the land owned by Inditex, which also sits alongside the wetlands, although real estate sources say that this vehicle is acting on behalf of a third party. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Regional Gov’ts Demand Rental Tax Payments From Tenants

3 March 2016 – El País

Tenants in the Community of Madrid with a residential rental contract signed within the last four years are now going to have to pay ITP (Property Transfer Tax or ‘Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales’). In the case of a rental charge of €600 per month, the tenant now has to pay almost €29 per year of the contract. Currently, it is typically for rental contracts to last three years, which means a cost of €86.40, to be made in a single payment. It does not matter whether this clause is included in the contract signed between the owner and the tenant or not.

Since the start of 2015, as part of its plan to combat fraud, the Ministry of Finance in the region of Madrid has been making a mass claim for the payment of this tax to the surprise and amazement of tenants, who have never heard of such a charge before. However, Madrid is not the only region. Cataluña, Asturias, Andalucía and Galicia have also included the ITP claim in their tax control plans.

The weak regional coffers are unable to forgive the payment of this tax any longer, the corresponding legislation has actually been in force for more than two decades. Until now, the Madrilenian Government, during the mandate of Esperanza Aguirre and then Ignacio González, generated revenues of €600,000 per year from this source. Now, Cristina Cifuentes’s Government hopes to raise a lot more, although it does not provide any figures. Cataluña, which is immersed in the same process, raised almost €6.4 million in 2015, compared with €482,000 previously. (…)

In force since 1993

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of Madrilenians, the ITP on rental payments in nothing new; in fact it has been in place since 1993, when the state law governing Tax on Property Transfers and Stamp Duty ruled that it considered a rental contract to be an onerous acquisition, much like a purchase. And the tax has even been envisaged in the law since 1980 (…).

Until now, “the small quantities involved meant that the Administration was not interested in allocating resources to find pockets of fraud against this tax, but now inspection activity is much simpler, given that with a simple cross reference of data, it is easy to find the debtors”, says Pelayo de Salvador Morell, a lawyer at the law firm deSalvador Real Estate Lawyer. (…).

The tax charge or amount to pay is obtained by applying the rate set by the regional government in each case, to the taxable base. Cristina Cifuentes’s Government is applying the State’s standard rate of 0.4%. Other regional governments, such as Cataluña, have increased the rate to 0.5%, which means that instead of the €86 mentioned above, tenants in Cataluña will have to pay €108 for three year rental agreements.

The payment of the tax must be made within 30 days of the contract being signed, through various means, such as using the stamp-impressed paper stocked in tobacconist shops…submitting the self-settlement 600 form to the General Tax Authorities…or telematically through the online office. Despite the mandatory nature of this legislation, the Community of Madrid has chosen to not penalise for non-compliance…due to the high cost involved. It is claiming only the amount of the tax that should have been paid at the time, plus late payment interest. (…).

Original story: El País (by Sandra López Letón)

Translation: Carmel Drake