Barcelona to transform former Mercedes-Benz factory into 1,450 flats
Housing project in Sant Andreu will also contain shops, offices and green spaces
A former Mercedes-Benz factory in Barcelona is to be converted into housing and commercial premises with plans for 1,450 new flats alongside shops, offices, other facilities and green spaces.
Barcelona City Council announced the project on Monday, the result of an agreement with Conren Tramway, the company that owns the industrial site and that will take charge of the development in the Sant Andreu area of the Catalan capital.
The aim is to resurrect a space that has lain dormant since the car factory closed in 2007 and to make use of the more than 90,000 m2 of surface area that the site offers.
The old factory buildings will be preserved, the central core will become a large plaza, and the whole site will be free from cars and other vehicles, following Barcelona's superblock model of pedestrianized streets.
The City Council wants to ensure a "balance of uses" and therefore has agreed 60% housing and 40% commercial activity.
"Today we are proposing a city strategy," declared Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, celebrating the fact that the project would connect the existing neighborhoods of Bon Pastor and Sant Andreu del Palomar, while also providing a new focal point.
Colau thanked the real estate developers for the public-private collaboration, which will not involve any cost to Barcelona City Council. The mayor said the project will yield benefits and is "aligned" with the city's goals.
In total, the site's regeneration is expected to lead to 1,450 new homes, 40% of which will be social or affordable housing.
On the other hand, there will be 84,000 m2 dedicated to commercial and private facilities: 53,000 m2 to boost industrial activity in the surrounding area and 33,000 m2 for ground floor shops, offices and businesses.
"We want neighborhood trade, we want a haberdashery, a hardware store, a pastry shop. We want it to be a great place to live, and to maintain the essence of Barcelona's neighborhoods," said Paco Hugas of Conren Tramway.
The project also aims to attract companies working in the fields of technology, creativity and design.
"We will go from making cars to making ideas and creativity," said Janet Sanz, the deputy mayor responsible for Urban Planning, who estimates that up to 3,000 jobs could be created.
The development is due to be completed by 2026.