Turning an old power plant into Catalonia's audiovisual content creation hub

Government and local authorities united in 'Les Tres Xemeneies' project expected to be completed in 2030

Members of the Catalan government and leaders of several city councils watch the 'Les Tres Xemeneies' old factory from Campus UPC university
Members of the Catalan government and leaders of several city councils watch the 'Les Tres Xemeneies' old factory from Campus UPC university / Jordi Pujolar

ACN | @agenciaacn | Sant Adrià de Besòs

September 23, 2022 05:46 PM

September 23, 2022 07:10 PM

'Catalunya Media City' is one step closer to becoming a reality. The audiovisual content creation hub, which will be located in the 'Les Tres Xemeneies' heritage factory, just outside of Barcelona, could be completed in 2030, as was announced by the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, and local authorities on Friday.

'Les Tres Xemeneies' is a former thermal power station built in the 1970s and closed down in 2011. The factory is located between the cities of Sant Adrià de Besòs and Badalona, next to the Besòs river, north of Barcelona.

For over a decade, the building has been abandoned and empty, but now, it could become a symbol of the new digital era. 

"We have to be the ones leading the transformation, not the ones following other people's changes," Catalan vice president Jordi Puigneró said in a press conference alongside the president and members of the different city councils involved.

The "new" light the 'Tres Xemeneies' factory will have "will light up" this century's opportunities, Puigneró added.

"It was about time," Badalona mayor Rubén Guijarro told attendees as he sees the digital and technological transformation project closer to becoming a reality. "On this side of the Besòs river, we have been waiting a long time to be part of Catalonia's driving power," he said.

Guijarro believes that Barcelona's northern area has been underprivileged in comparison to the Llobregat area, south of the Catalan capital, something Aragonès agreed with. For him, the project in 'Les Tres Xemeneies' will have "a very immediate" impact on locals.

The Besòs area has "a huge potential for growth and new projects. All too often, this area has felt forgotten," the Catalan leader said.

Catalan president Pere Aragonès praises the Besòs area's "huge potential for growth"

"The 'Catalunya Media City' will benefit from the artistic, cultural, and industrial tradition of Catalonia," the president said. "The hub has a strategic location and will be available to Catalonia's talent but also welcome new professionals from abroad," he concluded when talking about a "key" element for the territory's competitivity.

To make sure the project can go ahead, the city councils of Sant Adrià de Besòs and Badalona will have to greenlight a new urbanism plan on September 26 and 27, respectively.

Future audiovisual industry

With the approval of these urbanism changes, the goal is to have 'Catalunya Media City' up and running in 2030, but to open the completed areas earlier so residents can start feeling the changes of the audiovisual content creation hub.

The hub will not only focus on audiovisual content but also on the videogame industry, one of the most important technological activities in Catalonia.

The hub in 'Les Tres Xemeneies' will be a production, research, training, and professional specialization on services for the audiovisual and digital content sector all combined within a next-generation technological park.

The Catalan government's plan is to set up a huge audiovisual infrastructure allowing top-notch companies to benefit from the hub and boost the use of the Catalan language in the professional cinema environment. 

Within the 'Tres Xemeneies' hub, there will be a space for production, teaching, and audiovisual research with TV sets and filming areas.

The expected investment is around €400 million from the Catalan government, the Spanish executive, and private investors.