The president of DCN added that the works at Madrid Nuevo Norte could start in 2019 if the administrative procedures progress as expected. The project “is already a reality”.
“It has been a very long and very intense year. Our intention was to take half the time; however, this is a very complex project and everything must be done very well, perfectly”. This is how Antonio Béjar summed up the year between July 27, 2017 and 2018 in a meeting with several media outlets: the year in which Madrid Nuevo Norte crossed the threshold from being an idea to being a reality.
DCN’s president has recognised that the work to transform the agreement announced in 2017 into a real project has been very intense, because “it was based on very different stances”. However, he insisted that a consensus project has been reached thanks to everyone’s effort. “The outcome is very good. This is the design of a city model where people want to live, with density, shops and neighbourhood life,” he explained.
Béjar has emphasized the importance of having a large city scale model where citizens can finally see what Madrid Nuevo Norte will look like. “The city model accurately represents the shapes of the buildings and what the project will look like once it is built”. It is important because “it reveals the many falsehoods aired about the project”, including that it would have more than 20 skyscrapers, or the absence of green spaces.
In fact, Madrid Nuevo Norte’s city scale model, which was on display at Madrid City Council for a few days, has seen a spectacular response from the citizens. Finally, the people of Madrid can visualise this project, which has been 25 years in the making. A project that not only provides a solution to the problems in northern Madrid, but also, puts Spain’s capital in the same league as other major international capitals, turning it into a benchmark for sustainable and cutting-edge urban development.
A project for the city
The head of Distrito Castellana Norte outlined the deadlines for the administrative process of Madrid Nuevo Norte: initial approval in early September; provisional approval, at the plenary session of the City Council, before the end of the year, and final approval, in the first quarter of 2019 by the Regional Government of Madrid. Once these phases are completed, the development project itself will begin, so, “in the best case scenario, the works can start at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020”.
Béjar also insisted that the construction schedule would also try to respond quickly to the demands of the existing built neighbourhoods. “None of the works will take a back seat. We need to develop every square meter; however, we will start with those that improve communication”. Chamartín train station, the backbone of the project, will be a priority. In fact, the Minister of Public Works, José Luis Ábalos, reported last week that ADIF could launch a call for designs of the new station this year. The deck over Chamartín’s rail tracks will be built simultaneously with the station.
The president of DCN has ventured to say that if everything progresses as expected, the first dwellings would be ready in 2022, although he clarified that it is difficult to forecast exact deadlines in an urban project of this magnitude.
What is clear is that Madrid Nuevo Norte is “a cross-cutting project, a project for the city,” said the president, recalling that the presentation of the city scale model has underlined the support of all political parties in the Madrid City Council. In these past two years, he said, “everyone realised that this project should not be used as a political football. There is a shared awareness that it is a social need”.
For this reason, according to the president of DCN, we no longer have to worry about changes in government in any of the administrations: transversality and consensus allow us to focus now on moving forward and continuing to work together with all stakeholders. Indeed, political consensus, as could only be expected, is the accurate expression of the “massive social support” for Madrid Nuevo Norte. As Béjar says: “No neighbour, among true neighbours, is against this project”.