Carmena Frees Up Valdebebas and Will Sell 145,000m2 of Commercial Land

2 February 2019

A little more than three months before the municipal elections, the Madrid City Council has opted to help real estate boost the development of Valdebebas. The Governing Board of the Madrid City Council has agreed to dismiss all appeals filed against the final approval of the Valdebebas Economic Redevelopment Project.

The decision would, in practice, give a green light to the Valdebebas Compensation Board to sell plots of land for a large commercial centre with 145,794 buildable square meters and 36,448.50 buildable square meters of offices. In November 2017, almost a year and a half ago, the Board was forced to revise its 2013 urbanisation and economic rezoning project to get the Madrid City Council to once again grant building permits, which had been stopped by the municipality after it accepted the ruling by the Court of Justice of Madrid invalidating the economic rezoning project.

In October 2014, the Madrid City Council finally approved the urbanisation and rezoning project for Valdebebas that reduced the commercial area from 114,000 to 56,000 square meters, to include the construction of a private school, about 900 subsidised homes and 100 market-priced homes. The plots for the homes and the private school sold, but the Compensation Board had to cancel the sales due to the Court of Justice of Madrid’s decision. Those affected then were the school Joyfe, Pryconsa, Premier and Valdecam. In addition, all the urbanisation works for the commercial area will have to be demolished, which will entail a cost for the original owners of the land of 1.5 million euros.

The development of the commercial area has been frozen until today, after the judicial resolutions that annulled the Special Plan approved by the Cibeles Plenary on October 30, 2014 and today’s decision also presupposes the resumption the routine concession of construction licenses in Valdebebas to conclude its development.

Original Story: El Confidencial

Translation: Richard Turner

Carmena’s New Housing Plan: Rezoning in Exchange for Subsidised Housing

8 February 2019

The Madrid City Council is offering to rezone an industrial plot as land to residential in exchange for “30%, 50% or 70%” use as social housing.

Madrid is now following in Ada Colau’s footsteps, asking for investments in social housing from private developers. The Madrid City Council will offer to rezone an industrial site on the condition that part of it is converted into subsidised housing (VPO). José Manuel Calvo, the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, announced the decision in an interview with EjePrime. The initiative is a reflection of the Madrid City Council’s desire to invest in social housing.

Since the public stock of homes began falling in 2010, the government in Madrid has been unable to return to the levels seen before the crisis. When Manuela Carmena arrived at City Hall, the municipality had less than 6,000 public housing units. The mayor committed to adding another 4,000, half of which has been achieved four months before the end of her term.

The City Council of Madrid is now offering to work with private developers to increase the public stock of housing during the next government mandate. The idea is to rezone industrial lands so that developers can build homes, a percentage of which would have to be allocated to subsidised housing.

Carmena’s government requires any plots of land for subsidised housing to be independent

“I can tell developers that I will rezone the land as residential and then ask for 30%, 50% or 70% [for subsidised housing],” says Mr Calvo. While the exact figures have yet to be determined, the City Council believes that the developers’ investments must be “profitable” while the “municipality wants to receive the greatest possible number of homes.”

Carmena also insists that any plots used for subsidised homes be independent to avoid the Ada Colau’s situation in Barcelona. Ms Colau wants to oblige developers to set aside 30% for social housing buy her “proposal has run into legal difficulties because the homes are owned ‘proindiviso’,” meaning that the City Council jointly runs the residential associations with the developers.

In such cases, “as an administration, maybe you need the housing for needy families and the community can deny it,” says Calvo. “The proposal in Barcelona does not work,” he concludes.

The councillor is suggesting an alternative to Ada Colau’s proposal

Colau’s proposal was approved in a plenary session of the Barcelona City Council last September, with favourable votes by all political parties except the Ciudadanos (Citizens) who abstained, and the PP, which voted against. According to the municipality’s forecasts, the monthly rent for social housing of about 80 square meters should be 512 euros or €136,000 to buy. Taking into account that 1,114 apartments are built each year, the City is planning on 334 new homes per year.

The City Council’s proposal was not well received by developers, who met that same week in a commission to study the measure. The Catalan Association of Developers (APCE) questioned the legality of the proposal and warned that it could mean an end to new developments.

Original Story: EjePrime – Marta Casado Pla

Translation: Richard Turner