operation chamartin
extension to the castellana

The extension of the Castellana includes 17,000 apartments, 4,000 of which are Council housing. They will house about 52,000 people, most upper-middle class. Madrid City Council emphasises that this operation will close the city's northern crown by linking the new districts in the area.

The city of Madrid has just said 'Yes' to 'Operation Chamartín'. There will be a new business centre, but 17,000 apartments will also be built over a period of at least 12 years from the commencement of building work, which is expected to start in 2011.

These are the estimates made by Madrid City Council and, in addition, the Regional Government and the Ministry of Public Works will also be providing more than a little help to create a mini-city in which 52,000 people will live and another 88,000 will work. Of those 17,000 apartments, some 4,000 will be Council housing, an increase on the original figure. This number of Council housing will, according to the director of the project, José María Ezquiaga, “bring a social and demographic mix in the future residents of the area”.

However, the district will be upmarket and its inhabitants could have views of a score of high-rise office blocks which will undoubtedly bring quality to the area.

Special emphasis has been given to sustainability, and by 2025 residents will be saving nine million hours in commuting and 107 million euros.

For Beatriz Lobón, Madrid City Council's general coordinator for Town Planning, «the most important thing about this operation is not so much the housing, as the creation in the city of Madrid of a true business centre, which does not presently exist, which we are calling the new 'city'».

Madrid will have its great executive district, a mini-city of suits and briefcases alongside middle-class areas. The long-awaited 'Operation Chamartín' will become true and work will start on it in 2011. Since it is estimated that it will take no more than 12 years to build, there will be an extension to the Castellana by about 2023.

When it is fully occupied, some 52,000 people will live in the area and their possible views will include a score of office skyscrapers. Nothing has been officially defined yet, although there are some complete infographs which explain the ambitious scope of this project.

Madrid ampliacion de las Castellana

New City

What is beyond doubt, according to insiders working on the project, is that Madrid will build a modern mini-city based on principles of sustainability and first class urban design.vvvv

In the City Council they are describing Madrid's extension of the Castellana and the construction of 17,000 new apartments as: «Developing the model of the current general plan with this operation to create a new peripheral centre in the northern crown of the city, supported by the extension of the Castellan as a major urban axis».

Those are the words of the general coordinator for Town Planning, Beatriz Lobón, who goes on to say that it will also involve «the extension of the railway network which operates out of Chamartín station; a package of more than 1.5 million square metres of building land for tertiary activities that will house around 88,000 employees; and a system of urban parks and facilities suited to its central position and the residents of the 17,000 apartments indicated».

In her view, «the most important thing about this operation is not so much the housing, as the creation in the city of Madrid of a true business centre, which does not presently exist, which we are calling the new 'city'».

Mobility for the residents of the new district and those that pass through it every day will be one of the keys of the operation. There will be five more stations on the extension to line 10 of the Metro, which will extend it by 4.2 kilometres. The Castellana will be extended by 2.6 kilometres and the link with the M-30 and the M-40 will be a fact.

It has even been estimated how much residents and workers will save in terms of time and money in 2025: this will be no less than nine million hours in commuting time and 107 million euros a year.

The winner of the National Award for Town Planning, José María Ezquiaga, director of the team drafting the Operation for the Extension of the Castellana, makes his own analysis of this aspect: «The planning of the apartments will meet more innovative criteria than those normally applied in the last generation of PAUs [Urban Development Plans] of Madrid».


Talking about prices is like resorting to a crystal ball, but we have to hazard a guess because the new district will certainly be expensive. «At the moment, there's no way of knowing how much it will cost per square metre, but if it serves as information, after the crisis of 1986-90, prices remained stationary until 1997, that is, no less than seven years», points out Carlos Smerdou.


They also say that «it's very well planned». One of its outstanding characteristics is that «it is fundamental that the project should be intercycles, that is, it should be able to adapt to changes in the property sector in the course of its implementation», the consultants conclude.


An above-average buyer.


Who is going to buy these 17,000 apartments, or at least, those that are unrestricted? «This area, in general, will be upmarket; areas with very different income groups (on paper) will live alongside it, and the expected buyer will not like that», they reply in Knight Frank. They also discuss the buyer's profile: «People aged 30 to 45, in middle or senior management, executives and businessmen (assuming there will be a second 'Business Centre' like the one in Nuevos Ministerios), also childless couples, or those with few children, and those who are single or divorced». In Foro they point out: «Buyers will be from the Chamartín area, where there isn't much property available, who want to move up the property ladder. And people who work in the offices». José María Ezquiaga underlines: «The authorities have decided to raise the amount of Council housing provided for in the General Plan from 10% to more than 25% of all the apartments. This decision, as well making housing more accessible, will contribute to a broader social and demographic mix of the future inhabitants».