Operación Calderón: More Social Housing But No Skyscrapers

4 July 2016 – Expansión

The buildability ratio has been reduced by 16% / The new proposals reflect a lower buildability ratio, with an average building height of eight storeys, and a larger transfer of land to the town hall, which will be dedicated in tis entirety to social housing.

Operación Calderón is back on the public agenda once again. The Town Hall of Madrid, together with the owners of the land – Atlético de Madrid football club and the beer company Mahou San Miguel – have agreed new plans for the site, which include reducing the buildability ratio by 16%, decreasing the average height of the buildings, and transferring more land to the Town Hall, which will be used for the construction of social housing. The plan must be presented to the Town Hall before it is approved.

“We have managed to launch a project that has gone through a difficult period, thanks to a better system of working. This has included listening, collaboration and the capacity to yield and seek the common good”, said the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena.

According to the new proposal, the total buildability area has been decreased from 175,000 sqm to 147,000 sqm, i.e. 16.15% less, and the average height of the buildings has been reduced from 20 storeys to eight.

Of the total buildability, around 129,000 sqm will be dedicated to homes. The representative of the Town Hall of Madrid’s Sustainable Urban Development department, José Manuel Calvo, explained that all of the 10% of the land transferred to the Town Hall will be reserved for social housing, which will allow it to “carry out the social housing policies supported by the city’s Government”.

The new plans also increase the size of the green spaces from 54,600 sqm to 79,900 sqm, and of the new facilities from 10,00 sqm to 12,800 sqm. The Town Hall has explained that the plans reflect “most” of the demands made by the neighbourhood associations of Arganzuela and will be subjected to a process of “public consultation for citizens and entities to offer their suggestions”.

Costs

In terms of placing the M-30 underground, the Town Hall will bear the cost of the integration of this stretch by offering “alternative solutions with much lower costs”. The Town Hall plans to cover part of the motorway, which would cost between €50 million and €60 million, compared with the projected cost of €140 million or €150 million associated with the previous plans.

The presentation of the agreement – which had initially been planed for 22 June, but which was postponed until after the elections – was attended by the President of Atlético de Madrid, Enrique Cerezo and the Director of Mahou San Miguel’s land business unit, Paloma Boceta. Cerezo said that next season will be Atlético’s last playing at the Calderón, before the club moves to La Peineta. “We have been working on this project for ten years. I hope that we will be able to close the deal some time soon, so as to to enjoy our new stadium and so that Madrid can benefit from a wonderful area in the centre of the city”, he added.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid Leads Spain’s Property Development Drive

23 October 2015 – Expansión

The Barcelona Meeting Point, which has been held this week and the Autumn edition of SIMA, which starts in Madrid today, are both proving to be of particular interest to the Spanish real estate sector. And it is no wonder, given that those two regions are leading the way in terms of property development at the moment. But the reactivation of the real estate sector is not proving to be homogeneous: it is slow, uneven and focused on certain large urban areas. Investment funds and real estate companies have acquired offices and commercial assets amounting to €10,800 million so far in 2015, already exceeding the total figure invested in 2014 (€10,200 million). And investors’ interest, which began in the tertiary sector, is now extending to the residential sector, at the hands of a winning formula: the partnership of large investment funds and local property developers.

Interest in ‘ready-to-build plots’ (‘suelo finalista’) has been increasing in Madrid since the end of 2013, however, given the shortage of land in the capital, attention is now starting to focus on other development land (‘suelos con gestión de desarrollo previo’), according to findings from CBRE in its latest report Market View Residencial. The lack of property developments to meet future demand is already a concern for the sector, and that perception has only increased since the change in the municipal government, given that the brakes seem to have been put on several projects: Chamartín, Mahou-Calderon and Canalejas.

According to Servihabitat’s latest report about the residential sector, house sales will have increased by 25.6% by the end of this year, to total more than 400,000 operations. The entity expects the rising trend to continue in 2016, with more than 460,000 house sales, up by 14.5%. As a result, it expects house prices to rise by 2.6% this year and by 6% in 2016. All of the experts agree that the lack of land will end up impacting house prices.

In the centre of the capital, large one-off operations continue to abound, such as the ones closed last year by Domo Gestora, which acquired a plot of land on Raimundo Fernández Villaverde for €111 million; and Ibosa, which was awarded the former Metro depot in Cuatro Caminos. Another highly anticipated operation is the sale of a plot of land on Calle Padre Damián, 52, owned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, measuring 15,000 m2, where 200 homes are going to be built. The auction date has not been set yet, but Domo, Larcovi (with Ruiz-Larrea Architects), Comunidades Santa Gema, and the strong partnership between Los Jardines and El Olivar, have created four cooperatives interested in this plot worth around €100 million.

In terms of other future projects, within the M-30 radius, all eyes are focused on Operación Chamartín (17,500 homes), Operación Campamento (10,700 homes) and the smallest project of all Operación Calderón (2,000 homes). For Samuel Población, National Director of Residential Property and Land at CBRE, all three are very interesting projects and, in his opinion, Chamartín is the most necessary. “It will be the vertebral axis between the Castellana and the developments in the North, it has the blessing of the owners and it will take almost 20 years to complete. It doesn’t make any sense, either commercially or development wise, to delay it any longer”. However, the new mayoress of Madrid considers that this urban planning project cannot be resolved “in two months” and has said that no decision will be taken until after the general elections. This uncertainty, which will exist until the final version of the General Plan for Madrid is reviewed and the new Town Hall’s plans are presented in more detail, is not good for the sector, at a time when real estate investment has shot up by 51%, says Samuel Población, who also points out that, the project now known as Distrito Castellana Norte is planned in several phases, which means that its launch is not incompatible with subsequent adjustments.

Scarcity on the horizon

The lack of supply has been felt most notably in the PAUs (‘Proyectos de Arquitectura y Urbanismo’ or Architecture and Urban Planning Projects)  in the north of Madrid: Sanchinarro, Las Tablas, Montecarmelo and Arroyofresno; and is starting to become apparent in Valdebebas. Currently, around 5,000 homes (unsubsidised and subsidised) have been delivered or are about to be in that development alone, out of a total projected number of 13,500. The Junta de Compensación is selling new plots for the construction of social housing, with plans for 1,000 subsidised homes to be built; after that, the supply of protected land in Valdebebas will have run dry.

In the south of the city, the Ensanche de Vallecas area is also showing signs of the shortage: in 2007, there were almost 3,000 homes for sale there, and now there are just 150.

In the southeast, other important developments are planned, such as Valdecarros (48,000 homes), Los Ahijones (15,400 homes) and el Cañaveral (15,000 homes), however there is not yet sufficient demand in those areas to match the vast supply.

Madrid’s residential market is a very polarised and so, despite the fact that there appears to be stock, there are pockets where scarcity is just around the corner.

Luis Corral, the CEO of Foro Consultores, reminds us that  improvisation does not work in the housing sector: “To develop homes, land needs to be created and that takes time, which means developers need to have developable land in their portfolios”.

Original story: Expansión Special ‘Casas’ Supplement (Loreta Ruiz-Ocaña)

Translation: Carmel Drake