In One Month, Valencia Receives Applications for Two Hotels and One Apartment Block in the City Centre

29 March 2018

Tello is requesting that the Exarchs palaces be granted protected status, whose planned rehabilitation includes a hotel.

The Valencia City Council received two requests to open new hotels in one month, as well as two apartment block developments, at least one of which is in Ciutat Vella, Valencia’s historic centre. The requests are currently open to public discussion.

One of the apartment developments is located on three lots of land in the Velluters neighbourhood, at 27, 29 and 31 Bany Street. It is an area where other similar ventures have already opened, in a run-down area of the city centre which has seen a loss of residents in recent years.

The second proposal concerns a new four-star hotel-apartment in an existing building at 28 Corretgeria and 4 Bany Pavesos. The building is a few meters from the Micalet and was used as the headquarters of a hospitality school for years.

Another hotel at 18 Ruzafa, very close to the intersection of Santa Clara Convent Street, is also open for public discussion. In this case, the hotel’s category has not yet been specified. The fourth development is another apartment block, although its location is also as yet unspecified.

The pace of the new developments is an indicator of the sector’s strength in the city. Another hotel is to be built in the Exarch’s palaces, located in Santos Juanes and La Lonja. Yesterday, the City Council announced, through the Councillor for Culture, Glòria Tello, that it intends to request that the Ministry of Culture declare the properties as being of Cultural Interest.

Dating from the fourteenth century, the mansions are part of an urban-planning project, which also impacts some sites where archaeological excavations are being carried out. The application to build a hotel on the premises led to demands by residents and institutions such as the Consell Valencià de Cultura to request that the palaces gain protected status, along with elements such as the kitchens and chapel of San Ignacio de Loyola.

While the request for the conservation of the sites is under consideration, the Department of Urban Development will formally declare the palaces of the Exarchs as a Locally Relevant Property (BRL), a transitional regime in any construction that goes beyond conservation efforts will have to receive prior approval from the Generalitat.

Original Story: Las Provinces – P. Moreno / I. Sunday

Translation: Richard Turner


Town Hall of Granada Sells Former Housing Dep’t HQ for €1.5M

2 February 2018 – La Vanguardia

The Town Hall of Granada has sold the historic building that used to house the headquarters of the now defunct municipal housing company, together with three parking spaces that form part of its estate, for around €1.5 million. Approximately €1 million of the proceeds received will be allocated to the renovation works that are currently underway in the neighbourhood of Santa Adela.

At a press conference following the local government meeting on Friday, the councillor for Urban Planning in Granada, Miguel Ángel Fernández Madrid, confirmed the sale of the property located on Calle Lepanto, behind the headquarters of the Town Hall of Granada, together with three parking spaces in Plaza Gamboa, nearby in the centre of the city.

According to legislation, the proceeds obtained from the sale of the municipal land asset must be allocated to investments in the city. “As we have an extended budget and the beans have been accounted for, the bulk of the money, almost €1 million, will go towards paying the costs” that the Town Hall is currently facing on the Santa Adela project, explained Fernández Madrid. He added that this will serve to “justify” the municipal investment with a view to the receipt of European Edusi funds for this project.

The future of the half a million euros that will be left over from the sale of the former headquarters of Emuvyssa and the three parking spaces is yet to be decided, but it is expected that that amount will also be invested in projects with Edusi funds, for which the Town Hall has to justify that “it is going to spend around 30% of the money”, that it will receive from Europe, in other words around €3 million.

For this reason, investing most of the proceeds resulting from the sale in the Santa Adela construction work is “the best option”, said the councillor for Town Planning. He recalled that the plenary approved the disposals of municipal land property and that belonging to the now defunct Emuvyssa “by sufficient majority”. They mostly comprise social housing developments that “carry a municipal mortgage”, representing a “substantial amount”, which the Town Hall has to pay each month.

The building on Calle Lepanto has a total constructed surface area of more than 600 m2 – according to information available on the website of the Town Hall of Granada. According to the information provided by Miguel Ángel Fernández Madrid to the media, a tender was held to dispose of the property but no one participated, and so the asset has been sold to the first bidder willing to offer the asking price.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Valencia Puts an End to Land Speculation: Construction Work Must Start Within 2 Years

6 February 2018 – Eje Prime

Valencia is clamping down on land speculation. The reform of the Law governing Regional Planning, Urban Development and Landscapes (Lotup) which is being processed by the Ministry of Housing, Public Works and Structures (in the autonomous region of Valencia) has reduced the timeframe that owners are permitted to submit a town planning project from six to two years once they have committed to purchasing a plot.

That term may only be extended by the municipal regulations up to a maximum period of six years, according to Valencia Plaza. The legal text is being submitted to the Consell Jurídic Consultiu (CJC) for consideration.

The limit of two years will be “the supplementary or subsidiary rule” when a plan, program or municipal ordinance governing an urban development activity does not indicate any deadline for the submission of the project. In any case, the maximum term will be six years.

With the new modification of Lotup, the Law will allow private entities to urge the expropriation of plots in their favour when the owners fail to comply with the deadlines for development, a possibility that has already been considered in the past.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Castilla-La Mancha Welcomes Production Activities On Rural Land

20 October 2017 – Inmodiario

The Director-General of Housing and Town Planning for Castilla-La Mancha, José Antonio Carillo, has participated in the opening ceremony of the VII Annual Meeting of the Partners of the Spanish Association of Town Planning Technicians (‘Asociación Española de Técnicos Urbanistas’ or AETU), held in the Assembly Room at the College of Architects in Toledo.

Experts from all over the country participated in the meeting about matters relating to territorial and urban planning, debating current affairs issues with experts such as José María Baño León, Professor of Administrative Law at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and José María Ezquiaga Domínguez, dean of the College of Architects of Madrid and author of several general municipality plans, including for Puertollano, Cuenca and Guadalajara.

Carrillo took advantage of the occasion to make reference to regulatory innovations promoted by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha in the regional sphere, which regulate the subject and which have been specified in the Order dated 1 February 2016 and in the laws 3/2016, dated 5 May and 3/2017, dated 1 September, which amended the LOTAU.

The purpose of this modification, amongst others, is to facilitate the installation of production activities on rural land in small towns in Castilla-La Mancha, as well as to undertake urban regeneration operations in certain neighbourhoods of the region’s cities and towns, in collaboration with other housing policies and instruments, such as the Urban Regeneration and Renewal Areas (ARRUs), launched during this legislature in Sigüenza, Molina de Aragón and Toledo; and to which other initiatives and projects have now been added, such as those in Illescas, Tembleque and Tarancón, amongst others.

The Director-General has said that “García-Page’s Government is very clear about the priorities in terms of Urban Planning, and they include streamlining the procedures that correspond to the municipalities of the whole Autonomous Region, as well as making more flexible and facilitating even further the work that the region’s small towns are performing in this regard”, in such a way that, he continued, “town planning represents an engine for growth for them and not a burden of paperwork that may hinder the business initiatives that arise in their territory” (…).

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Torreblanca Golf Attracts Swedish, Belgian & Chinese Investors

18 October 2017 – El Periódico Mediterráneo

Swedish, Belgian and Chinese investment funds have all expressed an interest in developing the Doña Blanca Golf de Torreblanca project, whose foundations were initially approved again by the Town Hall (of Torreblanca) last Tuesday, during an extraordinary plenary session. The expectation is that the project will be awarded at the beginning of 2018 and may become a reality in 2022.

In fact, the government’s team says that even before launching the tender for the program, it already has half a dozen companies and investors on the table, who have registered their interest in the urban planning project. Three of them are backed by foreign capital.

In the opinion of the councillor responsible for Town Planning, Rosana Villanueva, that fact reflects the interest that the golf project has sparked. The plan is to maintain intact the characteristics of the initial program, created in 2005, and for the project to be put out for tender for around €58 million, which will represent a saving of €3.5 million with respect to the initial plan, which exceeded €61 million in total.

The PAI (‘Programa de Actuación Integral’ or Comprehensive Action Program) is considering extending the site by 1,910,254 m2, with 600,000 m2 allocated to the 18-hotel golf course and an urbanised area spanning 1,233,255 m2, with 4,410 homes, as well as hotels, tennis courts, a football pitch, shopping centres, 125,000 m2 of green space, a promenade and a coastal park measuring 80,000 m2. And the companies have expressed their interest in the complete development.

In fact, the PAI is one of the Town Hall’s priorities. That has been highlighted by the socialist mayor, Josefa Tena, since the beginning of her term and, now past the half-way point, she is continuing to back the golf course as a generator of employment and driver of tourism in the municipality. Its launch would represent one of the highest aspirations of the local government, “along the creation of employment”.

“Moreover, it would foster tourism and develop a coastal space with green, sustainable and controlled urbanism. Given its location and proximity to the airport “the seasonality of local tourism could be evened out; moreover, it will be the only beachfront golf course (in the country), which makes it a very attractive prospect indeed”, said the mayor.

The document to be presented to the plenary session will include an appendix with the foundations for the tender work for the construction firms, in order to speed up the process and ensure that the megaproject is given the green light as soon as possible.

Original story: El Periódico Mediterráneo (by Merche Martinavarro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Town Planning Paralysis In Madrid: 60,000 New Homes On Hold

2 February 2017 – El Economista

Paralysis is the word that best defines town planning in Madrid at the moment. And, the people who are ultimately paying the price for these stoppages in the capital are its citizens. The shortage of supply is pushing up land prices, which is, in turn, driving up house prices, forcing many families out of the city centre.

That is the scenario that Madrid is currently facing.  Construction of more than 60,000 homes has been suspended, in the north and south of the city alike, projects as iconic as Operación Chamartín with 17,000 homes, Valdebebas with 1,000 homes, Residencial Metropolitan with 400 homes, Berrocales with 22,000 homes and Operación Campamento with 11,000 homes, are being affected. And these are just a few of the most high profile examples that are still waiting to receive the green light from the Town Hall of Madrid.

The paralysis of these projects has created a lack of supply in terms of housing, which is forcing people to move to towns on the outskirts of Madrid. For example, in the north of the capital, buyers are moving towards Alcobendas and San Sebastián, and in the south they are moving towards Rivas. “These towns are aware of the significant demand that they are generating and in the end, that is causing prices there to rise. In fact, the supply has almost run out in Rivas”, explains Ignacio Ortiz de Andrés, analyst at Foro Consultores.

According to the politician Bosco Labrado, spokesman for the Ciudadanos Party and President of the Committee for Town Planning at the Town Hall of Madrid, “in order to resolve town planning in Madrid, we at Ciudadanos propose obtaining consensus between all of the political forces and agents that participate in town planning – we demand greater legal certainty, updates and modifications to the General Town Plan – which is the tool that we use nowadays, but which is out of date – and finally, support for more public-private collaborations, which have already worked well, such as the renovation of the Beurko neighbourhood in Vizcaya, and efforts to try and strengthen them”.

Affordable (subsidised) housing is particularly scarce. If we look at the south of Madrid, demand has been forced out to towns on the outskirts due to the lack of supply. “If someone is looking for a subsidised homes for between €160,000 and €200,000 with three bedrooms, there is currently nothing available in Madrid. In the south, all construction work at Los Berrocales, where most of the land is owned by the Town Hall, has been suspended and demand has moved to Rivas”, said Juan José Perucho, CEO at the Ibosa Group.

And Los Berrocales is not the only area where work has been suspended. The situation is the same with Operación Campamento, owned by the Ministry of Defence (…). In short, in both the north and south of Madrid, the Town Hall has put the brakes on and Madrid’s housing supply is becoming increasingly limited.

Original story: El Economista (by Luzmelia Torres)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena’s Team Dismisses Proposals For Cuatro Caminos

19 May 2016 – Expansión

The Town Hall of Madrid has rejected plans for the old engine sheds in Cuatro Caminos presented by the Metropolitan Residential Cooperative because it considers that they breach the General Urban Development Plan.

The Town Hall explained that the proposal must be redirected legally because, otherwise, “it would infringe the legally established rules”. It also warned that the reason for the breach of the General Plan is due to Metro’s refusal to modify the level of the engine sheds, on the basis that such a change would make it impossible to access to them from the current tunnel under Calle Reina Victoria.

According to the Town Hall, the Partial Plan and the proposed development deviate from the objectives and conditions established, given that the engine sheds would remain at their current level, even though the General Plan requires them to be placed underground. “There are alternatives and we hope that this project will be sorted out soon so as to fulfil the expectations of the cooperative members”, said a representative from the Government’s Sustainable Urban Development Department, José Manuel Calvo.

Sources from the cooperative consulted by Expansión expressed their surprise and indignation because, after more than a year of meetings with technicians and managers from the Town Hall, they are now reporting a “very serious legal problem”, which has not been mentioned until now. “We understand that this is more about the political battle between the Town Hall and the Community (of Madrid)”, say the sources, who lament the fact that the hostages in this battle are 450 families.

The same sources also warn that they are considering taking legal action against those responsible for this situation and that they do not rule out bringing criminal charges or filing an administrative appeal against the Town Hall.

Meanwhile, the Town Hall explained that, with this decision, it is seeking to eliminate the “serious legal uncertainties” that would result from a breach of the General Urban Development Plan and whereby provide the cooperative members with “greater legal guarantees”.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cifuentes Abolishes Madrid’s 3-Storey Land Act

11 December 2015 – Expansión

On Thursday, the Plenary Assembly of Madrid abolished the section of the Land Act that prohibits the construction of buildings of more than three storeys, thanks to support from members of the PP and Ciudadanos and despite the opposition votes by members of Podemos and the PSOE.

Enrique Veloso, one of Ciudadanos’s members, who defended the draft Law for the modification of the Land Act in the Community of Madrid, said that the now abolished law “has done a lot of damage to town planning”. He criticised the fact that this restriction to construct only three storey properties was applied in a blanket fashion across all towns, without taking into account the characteristics of each municipality.

Ramón Espinar, member of Podemos, said that this partial reform of the Land Act “has circumvented the agreement” that existed between all of the parliamentary groups to draft a new Land Act. He added that the current PP is “the same as ever” and he criticised its rejection of a comprehensive reform of the aforementioned law, which “understood that land was being preyed upon as a resource”.

The socialist member Rafael Montoya declared that his party’s town planning model is “compatible with the interests of residents and is respectful of the environment”, and he confirmed that the abolition of the three-storey restriction “would not help to generate consensus”. He advocated a comprehensive reform of the current Land Act and he criticised Ciudadanos’s collaboration with the PP, stressing that both parties “form part of the same right (wing)”.

The PP member Diego Lozano accused Podemos and PSOE of abandoning the motion for the reformation of the Land Act and said that they do not understand “the urgency” of the need for a comprehensive modification of the law that was approved eight years ago.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake