A new shopping centre brings controversy on Madrid Río (Madrid River)

New Plaza Río 2 shopping centre has already been announced on the banks of the River Manzanares, although it is currently held up in lawsuit.

Located at 109-111 Antonio López Street, in front of Matadero Madrid (Madrid’s slaughterhouse), this “neoclassic” shopping centre will feature 180 stores and around 1,500 parking spaces in 2017 if the sponsoring company forecasts are fulfilled.

“The dome” shopping centre, also known as Plaza Norte 2 (North Square 2), will take up Antonio López’s empty plot in Madrid Río. Both the inside and the outside will be reminiscent of this “neoclassic” commercial area, shared with the Chapman Taylor architectural firm. The design, based on luxury, “will combine stone with other high quality constructive elements, providing elegance built with quality material”, contrasting against Madrid Río’s sober design. However, it is specially shocking how the complex’s bulk will settle on the river disregarding the design of the city gathered on the Madrid Río’s initial plans and even disregarding the first partial plan of the plot.

In the partial plan, which is currently caught in litigation, the Matilde Gallo Street extension disappears, which would extend the connections from Usera to the river, as seen in the River Manzanares Special Plan and in the River Manzanares Surroundings Urban Renewal Masterplan (applied to surrounding private plots), according to Fernando Porras, one of Madrid Río’s architects. In the first partial plan developed, streets, considered as private roads, were going to divide the plot into a shopping centre with a tower as a hotel. Currently, given the change in ownership, these connections have disappeared, making the big commercial complex possible.

The centre will feature 180 stores and between 1,200 and 1,500 parking spaces

Sociedad General Inmobiliaria’s, run by Sociedad de Centros Comerciales de España (SCCE), currently advertised throughout the construction area and on the site, will feature 180 stores, among them Alcampo, spread between three floors. This shopping centre will feature between 1,200 and 1,500 parking spaces. For the moment, the license to build two underground parking levels has been granted, even though a third level may be included in the project, allowing to park 1,750 vehicles, according to the spokesman for Plaza Río 2. The Asociación de Vecinos Nudo Sur commented that the project poses a negative on traffic project, which is the reason why initial parking spaces would be reduced. There will also be an outdoor garden, which is a public donation.

According to the project spokesman, it is expected that construction of the shopping centre will begin within a month. For the moment, this construction is being advertised in the surrounding area and to advise on the 40,000 square metres available to rent. This will be the fifth shopping centre in Madrid SCC, the largest shopping franchise in Europe, even though this time it will be on one of the most expensive empty plots in the city centre. Sociedad General Inmobiliaria bought the land after its previous owner, Nozar, entered into bankruptcy.

Despite the project seems closed, its license is yet to be approved and it is in a period of public consultation, from February 11 after it was approved by the City Council, as stressed by the architect. “It contradicts everything designed 10 years ago and now a private developer is going to change all that” criticised Porras, who is going to act as a consultant to the Asociación de Vecinos Nudo Sur in the court case. Additionally, they fear the public use garden is not for the neighbourhood at all, but rather is a “carpet” for the shopping centre. Lastly, they also think that this will draw private transport. According to Ángel Lomas, Nudo Sur spokesman “This is a type of suburbans shopping centre which is not common in the city centre; traffic will get worse, because of that large parking space. ”Neighbours have started collecting signatures for a petition against Plaza Río 2.


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