Two properties have been purchased in the Consell de Cent green street using the right of first refusal, which gives the City Council preference in buying housing to prevent speculation. The municipal investment is 7.8 million euros and includes the purchase and renovation of two blocks at a price 27% below the average market value. The acquisition will mean 24 flats can be used for affordable social rentals.
The right to first refusal is an essential tool allowing the City Council to acquire public housing, particularly in central areas which tend to suffer more heavily from gentrification and where new building projects are difficult due to a shortage of available land. This is the case in L’Eixample.
The purchase of the two buildings brings the number of blocks acquired in areas undergoing transformation to seven. These areas include the green streets in the Barcelona Superblock programme, the purchases made to date adding 111 homes to the city’s public housing stock in all.
Goal: to stop local people being driven out
The first acquisition is at C/ Villarroel with C/ Consell de Cent, in the Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample. The building has sixteen homes, plus an office and some commercial premises on the ground floor. Various property operations mean that all the homes in this block are currently uninhabited except for one flat, the contract for which will be extended.
The purchase halts the process of gentrification and decay of the building, guaranteeing that the flats will be offered with affordable social rents. The amount is 4 million euros, with a further 1.6 million needed for the renovation.
The second building purchased is in C/ Consell de Cent, between the streets of Viladomat and Comte Borrell, in Nova Esquerra de l’Eixample. The block has eight flats, four of which are empty. The rest have tenants, whose contracts will be extended. The cost of this purchase is 1.9 million euros, with the renovation cost calculated at 322,590 euros.
Fifteen times more public housing in L’Eixample compared to eight years ago
Between residential blocks purchased and new blocks built, the district of L’Eixample has gone from 47 municipally managed flats in 2015 to the current figure of 427. That number is set to rise to 715 flats when the projects currently in progress are completed. One of these is the Illa Glòries, the largest development by a city council in the Spanish state, with 238 flats to provide housing for over 800 people.