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

New Housing Plan Will Include Aid For Renters & Evicted Families

14 December 2016 – El Mundo

On Tuesday 13 December, the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna (pictured above), said that the future Housing Plan 2018-2021, which his department is currently working on, will seek to continue to support rental housing through a specific program of aid, and will add other assistance for families evicted from their habitual residences.

De la Serna emphasised that the draft plan includes financing for a program of aid for families evicted from their habitual residences that find themselves in vulnerable situations, through the constitution of social funds for rental housing.

Similarly, he expressed his intention for the new housing plan to continue to offer support for rental housing thanks to a specific program.

The Ministry of Development has already started the process to approve this new housing plan and to this end, it has invited the Autonomous Regions to a conference, which will be held on Thursday 15 December, where some of the overarching premises are expected to be discussed.

The Minister for Development recalled that last Friday, the Council of Ministers approved an extension of the Housing Plan 2013-2016 to ensure that its beneficiaries will not lose their aid from 1 January 2017 onwards.

In terms of the sale of social housing to vulture funds, De la Serna reminded the Podemos party Senator María Pilar Garrido that the Government will not carry out any sale in this sense because the duties in terms of housing are assumed by the Autonomous Regions.

“We have to comply with the law and not encroach on the regional duties that are not our responsibility”, he added.

He also said that the State can only influence the regulation of economic planning, specifically, the definition of safeguarding actions and the regulation of financing structures through the contribution of state resources.

Based on this, he explained that the Government approves the state housing plans, which are then managed through agreements with the different autonomous regions.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake