Basque Municipality Sells its First Plot for Flats in Zorrotzaurre for €6.3 Million

30 August 2018

Last week, the Bilbao City Council approved a measure to sell a plot of land to build a hundred homes.

The Governing Board of the Bilbao City Council approved last week a measure to sell its first plot of land for the development of homes, as a part of the so-called Zorrotzaurre operation. The measure specifies that the Municipality must obtain a minimum of 6.32 million euros with the objective to develop two buildings with a total of more than one hundred price-controlled homes.

Specifically, the almost 2,900-square-meter plot of land is denominated SI-1 and is located on the right bank of the Deusto canal, next to La Tomatera’s recently opened rowing pavilion.

Two buildings, totalling 10,500 square meters, will be erected on the plot of land, with two- to three-bedroom flats. Garage floors and underground storage rooms will occupy more than 5,600 square meters, and almost another thousand square meters will be allocated to commercial premises on the buildings’ ground floors. It is the first housing operation launched in Zorrotzaurre by the Bilbao City Council and serves to reinforce the construction of housing in an area of urban intervention.

It was the last plot of land that remained to be activated in the strip of riverbank that looks over the Deusto canal, located below the areas of Ibarrekolanda and Sarriko. With the decision of the Aburto team, the five plots of land defined in the reparcelling plan are already in different stages of development.

SI-2, which is located next to SI-1, is owned by Visesa, the Basque government’s development company for dependant housing. The design of the two controlled-price residential blocks has already been awarded to an architecture studio. This means that, in all probability, the buildings themselves will be built directly by the public entity itself. In this case, Visesa will opt for the same formula it used to build the Official Protected Housing (VPO) skyscrapers in Bolueta: take over the development of the buildings and sell the flats directly to the future owners.

Down the river, the other two sites, SI-3 and SI-4, are also showing heightened activity. The developer Jauregizar has been building four apartment blocks for almost a year, the first two already sold to VPO applicants who were on the Etxebide list, for a total of 99 homes. On the other hand, the 132 flats in the two adjoining buildings will be sold at a free market price. All were sold under a cooperative regime, within the ViveZorrozaurre.

Finished structures

At present, the construction company is working at a good rhythm. The structure of the four apartment blocks have been finished, and work is proceeding on the interiors. The buildings that will house the VPO have eight floors, plus the ground floor retail premises, while the free market flats have ten floors plus the ground floor premises.

The last lot of riverfront land, the one next to the Sarriko school, is also owned by Visesa and was sold last July. The publicly-owned company decided to tender the land to a private developer to build 153 market-priced homes. Visesa will obtain a good return for the SI-5 since the minimum bid for the site is 22.65 million euros.

As for the design of the buildings, although each one may be designed by different architectural studios, all the residential blocks will have to have a similar aesthetic.

The Zorrotzaurre Board had already decided more than two years ago that the entire urban intervention, both on the right bank of the Deusto canal and all the buildings that will arise on the island in the future, will again have to have a similar aesthetic.

The first element in common is the format of the building, which will be similar to a chromosome (a kind of H), which the deceased urbanist Zaha Hadid drew up in his Master Plan, in an attempt to have as many flats as possible facing the estuary. The second is that all the blocks will have a similar height, between eight and twelve floors.

Over the next five years, the new residential area on the shore of the Bilbao river will gradually grow until it covers a linear front of almost 550 meters in length, which will be the first joint settlement carried out under the Zorrotzaurre operation.

Original Story: Deia – Alberto G. Alonso

Translation: Richard Turner