The urban project of the old Mercedes-Benz of Bon Pastor worries the neighbors

The transformation of the old Mercedes-Benz factory located in the Bon Pastor neighborhood is underway. Where now there are abandoned ships and rubble it is planned to raise up to 1,450 floors, also that technology companies disembark. This radical Transformation, still necessary, it worries some residents of the area such as David Medina, who has sent a letter to EL PERIÓDICO.

This reader lives in one of the blocks of Paseo de La Havana, in a third, and from his balcony he practically sees the 90,000 square meters of the enclosure, in disuse since 2007. “They are considering building 14-storey flats when in the area they have at most six. I’m worried about my views being blocked, having less light, but above all I am concerned about overcrowding and the mobility problems it will cause”Medina, 50, explains by telephone, who understands the need to recover and reinvent this enormous plot.

The regeneration of this space will be possible thanks to the agreement between the Barcelona City Council and the company Conren Tramway, owner of the estate, in which the premises and main characteristics of a transformation that is not closed are collected. The promoters’ proposal for this area, a finalist in an international competition, recently came to light to the surprise of the residents. Set replicates the ‘superilla’ model of the city, with priority for pedestrians and active mobility (bicycle and scooter), prepared to face the climate emergency. “The transformation will be spectacular, without a doubt, but all that glitters is not gold,” warns Medina.

The central nave will be transformed into a square and around it the buildings will be arranged, among which the two faculties and a center of the Fundació Leitat that would lead the implementation of new companies linked to creative industries. This can be translated into about 5,000 new jobs. In his letter the reader exposes his main fears. First of all, the breaking of the ‘skyline’ from this part of town. He understands the developer’s need to build as many flats as possible, to make the investment profitable, but considers that the houses could be distributed in another way, sacrificing the ship called ‘Merceditas’. “It may have a sentimental value for the former workers of the factory –explains the neighbor-, but it really does not have enough historical and patrimonial interest to justify its existence”. On the other hand, a hypothetical “massification & rdquor; from the area, says Medina. “Anyone who has attempted the odyssey of approaching the La Maquinista shopping center on a Saturday afternoon, especially in the pre-pandemic era, knows the circulatory horror that is formed, a total meltdown that makes the accesses to the Ronda del Litoral completely insufficient and that the resident neighbors end up suffering & rdquor ;, writes the reader, who anticipates a traffic chaos because public transport will be insufficient and many customers come from outside Barcelona attracted by the possibility of parking for free in the same shopping complex.

participatory process

The Associació Veïnal Maquinista-Mercedes share the reader’s concerns. In their latest statement, they emphasize that “massification is the origin of the problem & rdquor ;. 60% of the project will be allocated to housing, 40% of which will be officially protected. The current population of about 2,300 residents, calculates this neighborhood entity, will triple. That is “much more population than the territory can absorb & rdquor ;, they say, so they ask for more investment in the creation of new basic equipment and the adaptation of roads, bridges and accesses.

This young association, founded in 2021, is very critical of the ongoing participatory process. Aurelio Perez, member of the board, considers that they are of little use: “They are open sessions in which they do not present us with anything concrete. And when we ask for some figures, such as the 1,450 homes, they do not tell us where they come from or how they will be distributed. We want to see technical studies, based on concrete data, and not projects based on ideological studies”, protest.

In one of the association’s brochures there is also The insecurity” as another of the issues that concern them. Pérez clarifies this point: “Not knowing the distribution of the project, we are concerned that corners, closed areas, can be generated. From Monday to Friday the whole area will have a lot of life thanks to the faculties and companies, but we do not want it to become nights and weekends in an uninhabited area like 22@. We have asked for businesses, neighborhood stores, on the ground floor.”

The transformation of that area will have effects throughout the neighbourhood, for this reason they closely follow this issue in the Association of Veïns i Veïnes del Bon Pastor, the veteran, who approved at the time the transformation of the disused site. her president, Paquita Delgado, approved the implementation of the project, but with certain conditions. The main demands of this entity, endorsed by the numerous neighborhood claims achieved since the 1970s, are the creation of a green lung -the promoter’s initial proposal seems insufficient, with an almost decorative green- and the elaboration of a general mobility plan for the area to prevent this new ‘superilla’ from causing traffic jams around it with the arrival of new neighbors and the implementation of new industries.

Initial phase

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The appearance of a few photos and videos in the press of the project last week caused a stir in both entities. However, they know that it is not approved. For its part, from the consistory they confirm that the ‘renders’ that have been seen these days are only a proposal from the promoter, a “proposal not agreed with the City Council” and who continue to work to finalize everything and draw up a modification of the General Metropolitan Plan (MPGM) for this area, an essential step to continue advancing in regeneration.

The same sources recall that the urban future of these lands will depend on the conclusions drawn from the participatory process open to the public, as they will be “the base to elaborate later the new planning”. They also point out that The process is at an early stage. which will continue with more thematic sessions and the presentation of a proposal for the initial approval of the MPGM. “Once the plan is initially approved, the process will continue with a new phase with more thematic debate sessions on the proposal, including mobility. And once the MPGM has been prepared and initially approved, the public exposure period will open to be able to present allegations”, they underline.

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