Madrid’s Partido Popular Opens Door to Private Hospital in Torrejón de Ardoz

16 August 2019

A second hospital will be built in Torrejón de Ardoz, a 130,000-inhabitant satellite city of Madrid, after the city’s government, currently dominated by the Partido Popular (PP), approved a proposal by Quirónsalud. The council has offered to rent a 16,000-square-meter plot of land to the firm for 625,000 euros per year, for a sixty year period.

The new private hospital will be placed across a roundabout from an existing public hospital, which is managed by a rival firm, Ribera Salud. Quirónsalud had initially planned on building the centre on a private plot of land in Alcalá de Henares.

The regional and municipal governments, both controlled by the PP, had to implement ad hoc changes in zoning regulations that, in the end, convinced the company to modify its project and move it to Torrejón de Ardoz.

Original Story: El Diário – Sofía Pérez Mendoza

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Spain’s Popular Party May Sell its HQ in Central Madrid for €60M

12 July 2018 – Eje Prime

The Popular Party could receive a handsome cash injection for the national headquarters that it renovated using dirty money. The sale of the building located in central Madrid could generate up to €60 million for the PP in the event that it decides to sell it.

As one of the candidates to take over the leadership of the party, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, explained recently in an interview with La Cope, many grassroots members have told her that, the national headquarters, located at number 13 Calle Genova, was “too big” and that she should “given some consideration” to this matter, according to Cinco Días.

The property is located in the most prime office area of Madrid, which runs from Recoletos to Azca, along Paseo de la Castellana. It is an asset that will spark interest amongst international funds, the most active players at the moment in the Spanish real estate sector, and family offices with significant resources looking to take advantage of the few office spaces that remain available in the area.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sacyr Claims €518.5M from Government of Murcia for its Ghost Airport

23 April 2018 – El Confidencial

Sacyr wants to take the conflict with the Region of Murcia over the private airport in Corvera to its logical conclusion. The construction company chaired by Manuel Manrique is claiming €518.5 million from the Regional (Partido Popular) government for the suspension of the concession to operate the airport infrastructure, which has ended up in the hands of the public entity Aena. The company in which the Murcian owner of El Pozo also owns a stake is demanding twice the amount that it cost it to construct the property.

According to an internal document from Sacyr, the ‘Concessionaire Company of the Airport for the Region of Murcia’ (‘Sociedad Concesionaria del Aeropuerto de la Región de Murcia’ or SCAM) filed a report on 17 January urging the autonomous government to issue a resolution to award the concessionaire a settlement of €518.5 million. That petition comes almost five years after the Government, now chaired by Fernando López Miras, terminated the contract for an alleged breach and a month after the Murican Executive agreed the management of the private airport with Aena – which is controlled by the State – for the next 25 years.

The claim is based on three concepts. The first relates to the investments and costs incurred by SCAM, in which Sacyr holds an 80% stake, for the development and execution of the concession contract. That sum amounted to €256.69 million as at 22 March 2016, the date immediately prior to when the Region of Murcia took ownership of the asset, plus an additional €1.97 million for the maintenance work carried out by the construction company until 30 September last year.

Sacyr and its shareholders, which include Banco Sabadell and Grupo Fuertes (El Pozo), the largest industrial group in Murcia, are also claiming €35.1 million in extra costs borne by the company resulting from the early termination of the concession contract, amounts that “must also be updated at the date of their reimbursement and/or settlement”. Finally, the company is demanding €224.82 million for the profit forgone or forecast loss, as assessed by an independent expert, whose identity has not been revealed by Sacyr.

The Corvera airport was awarded to Sacyr in 2007 (…). Nevertheless, after construction was completed in 2012, it could not be opened due to insurmountable differences that were so great they even led to the intervention of the Guardia Civil.

After long disputes (…) and some unsuccessful negotiations, the regional Government expropriated the airport and awarded it again at the end of last year. The winner was Aena (…), which undertook to manage the airport in exchange for closing the San Javier military airfield, closer to the Mar Menor and just 30 km from Corvera.

The new airport, which is expected to begin operation in December, is going to be called Juan de la Cierva, in honour of the Murcian man who invented the gyroplane. The infrastructure is expected to receive 800,000 international tourists during its first four years and will be able to handle 3.5 million passengers per year. Initial forecasts indicate sales of €495.8 million during the 25-year concession. Its largest competitor will continue to be the airport in Alicante, which handles more than 12 million users per year.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Opposition Parties Force Carmena To Reduce Business IBI

1 October 2015 – Expansión

The opposition parties in the Town Hall of Madrid (namely, the Partido Popular, PSOE and Ciudadanos) have put paid to the plans of the mayoress, Manuela Carmena, to increase the IBI rate for businesses and companies to 10%. In fact, they forced an agreement for it to be decreased by 2%. (Earlier in the week), all of the political parties, including Ahora Madrid, approved a 7% reduction in the residential IBI rate, and now, the opposition parties have forced a 2% decrease in the business rate.

The agreement by the plenary session represents an overall decrease of 100% for residential properties, as well as for the vast majority of non-residential properties. The 7% reduction in the property tax, will decrease the tax from its current rate of 0.548% to 0.51%.

Moreover, the majority – the result of the vote went against Ahora Madrid – approved a commitment to continue to reduce the rate of IBI for residential properties to 0.4%, the minimum rate set by law, “respecting the payment of expenses approved by the government, as well as sustainability”.

Meanwhile, the PP congratulated itself after some of the proposals it had presented to the plenary session were approved, including: zero taxes for entrepreneurs for the first two years (…).

In the same way, it indicated that large companies should not have to pay taxes for having “larger” buildings since “the rate of IBI is progressive and so it does not make sense for smaller clinics to pay a lower rate of IBI than public hospitals”.

Begoña Villacís, from Ciudadanos, said that the Town Hall should have a “single discourse” regarding the payment of debt, and the tourist tax. Moreover, she said that her party proposes a reduction in taxes and that the Town Hall should support the cadastral review plan.

The socialist Ransés Pérez Boga pointed out that on 22 July the plenary session approved a decrease in the rate of IBI, after it had been proposed by his party. He advocated a decrease in the rate of business IBI “to maintain the social progressive nature of the tax charge”. In his judgement, the reduction will allow companies to retain their employees.

Original story: Expansión (by Mercedes Serraller).

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena Will Not Sever Ties With Banks That Evict Families

27 May 2015 – El Confidencial Digital

The candidate for mayor of Madrid distances herself from Podemos and says that she will not apply the measure that Teresa Rodríguez imposed on Susana Díaz.

The greatest triumph of Podemos in the municipal elections held on 24 May has been the opportunity to become the mayor of the largest city in Spain. However, Manuela Carmena will govern Madrid without implementing one of the most controversial measures proposed by the party led by Pablo Iglesias.

It was after the elections in Andalucía when Podemos launched the headline-grabbing idea: to sever ties with the banks that force the eviction (of families) from homes with mortgages that the owners cannot pay.

The leader and regional candidate, Teresa Rodríguez, proposed this measure during talks with Susana Díaz to negotiate a possible agreement to allow the inauguration of the socialist as President of the Regional Government. Firstly, she demanded that the Andalucían Government should not work with banks that carry out evictions and next, she reduced the condition to require that the Government should not hold accounts with financial institutions that evict those unable to pay their mortgages.

After proposing this measure, several municipal candidates supported by Podemos for the May 24 elections included in their electoral program, or at least declared in public, their commitment to severing ties with banks involved in evictions.

Negotiations with the banks and non-retaliation

However, Confidencial Digital has learned that this measure will not be applied by the candidate who will govern Madrid’s town hall, given that Ahora Madrid did not include this idea in its election manifesto.

Sources close to the candidacy of Manuela Carmena confirm that this measure is not included in her election manifesto and therefore, she does not plan to apply it if she ends up ruling the municipal government of Spain’s capital.

“Ahora Madrid is committed to stopping evictions”, says the electoral manifesto of the municipal brand of Podemos for these elections. Below, it details a series of proposals that the town hall will undertake to avoid evicting people from primary residences and, in the event that they do take place, to offer an alternatives for evicted families.

Nevertheless, at no time does it mention “non-retaliation” against the banks that carry out evictions. Carmena’s manifesto includes only, amongst other measures, incentives for use to be made of  empty homes held by the financial institutions or the “bad bank” (Sareb), through agreements whereby the homes are transferred to the public stock of housing for use in the rental scheme.

Other Podemos candidates do support the measure

It is noteworthy that the candidacy of Ahora Madrid is distancing itself from one of the measures that, after being proposed by Teresa Rodríguez in Andalucía, was supported by many of the candidates that stood in the municipal elections, with the support of Podemos.

That is the case in Sevilla, where Participa Sevilla publicly committed that, if it was elected to the Town Hall, the Sevilla government would not work with banks that evict (people). Its candidate for mayor, Susana Serrano, even asserted that “it is inconsistent that the money from evicted families is held in the same banks that evicts them”.

Participa Sevilla will be key to enabling the socialist Juan Espadas to take the capital of Andalucía from the Popular candidate Juan Igancio Zoido. But the proposals made by the candidates supported by Podemos are more noteworthy; furthermore, they have won the elections and, presumably, will govern the town halls.

In La Coruña, Marea Atlántica – which won four more votes than the second ranked party, the PP – intends to apply the “cancelation of balances with banking institutions that carry out evictions”. Meanwhile, Barcelona En Comú, which has won with Ada Colau as the leader, is going to study measures to put pressure on the banks that do not negotiate with the town hall to put a stop to the evictions: including, “putting a stop to trading with the banking entities in question” and imposing sanctions on those banks.

Original story: El Confidencial Digital

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Electoral Shift May Undermine Operación Chamartín

27 May 2015 – El Mundo

The Ministry of Development fears that the electoral shift may undermine the plans for the project known as Distrito Castellana Norte, which is worth more than €6,000 million.

From June, the new municipal political map in Spain will face decisions regarding the future of dozens of urban development projects in the country’s large capital cities, worth thousands of millions of euros, many of which are still awaiting licence approvals from their respective town halls.

The largest one is Operación Chamartín, in Madrid, the largest urban development plan in the capital. The project has been in the pipeline for 20 years – four less than the Partido Popular held office for at the town hall – and was accelerated in recent months by the incumbent mayoress, Ana Botella, in an effort to obtain the final approvals.

The inability to comply with all of the procedures required for the operation, located in the North of the capital, covering 3.7 km in length and three million square metres in surface area, with plans to build 17,000 homes, as well as offices, retail areas and green spaces, forced Botella to leave the final approval (of the project) in the hands of her successors at the Town Hall. Specifically, to the resolution of around 1,800 claims and above all, to the approval of a partial plan for the extension of the Paseo de la Castellana.

Until 24 May, it was expected that a new municipal team led by the Partido Popular would continue the project, which promises to transfer the centre of the city from Puerta del Sol to the North. But the setback suffered by the Partido Popular in the capital last Sunday leaves the project in the air. The most likely option, that of a left-wing coalition between Ahora Madrid and the PSOE, is raising concerns amongst the stakeholders. The focus of the likely team, led by Manuela Carmena, would centre on social housing rather than on million-euro urban developments.

The project known as Distrito Castellana Norte is estimated to be worth more than €6,000 million; BBVA and the construction company Grupo San José are the main partners in terms of financing and development. The operation also includes municipal and regional land, but the majority is owned by the Ministry of Development, and in particular, its two largest companies: Renfe and Adif.

The urban development plan that Ana Botella was unable to finalise involves covering over the train tracks at Chamartín station. The value that the sale of this land to BBVA and San José would have for the companies owned by the Ministry of Development amounts to €1,200 million, most of which would be paid to Adif, whose debt amounts to €18,000 million this year, making it the State’s most indebted public company, behind only the FROB (Fund for the Orderly Restructuring of the Banking Sector). Given the financing needs of the conventional railway infrastructure companies and the lack of funds available for such investments, the minister Ana Pastor has publicly backed the plan. In fact, Adif was already counting on the payment of €200 million this year based on the approval of the pendingpartial Plan.

Now the deadlines are being called into question, at least the fast-track option is, which carries the support of the incumbent town hall. But the amendment, rejection or definitive approval of the largest chapter in the capital’s urban planning cannot be left on the sidelines for long.

After its launch in 1995, with the granting of land to the current BBVA, the project has survived (changes in) municipal teams, real estate bubbles and judicial processes, which have delayed its approval and halved the value that the property developers were guaranteed to generate.

In the end, last year, the grant was awarded, but BBVA and the Grupo San José extended their offer up to a maximum deadline of 2016. If there is no partial plan by the new Town Hall and the new extension expires, the Ministry of Development will see its largest urban development project die, although it is likely to be a legacy that another Government will pick up in due course.

Original story: El Mundo (by César Urrutia)

Translation: Carmel Drake