The head of Provincial Coastal Service, Rosa de los Ríos Jimeno, has warned the Torrevieja Town Hall that the skyscraper project of the Torres Baraka -two buildings on 32,000 square meters of 26 floors, 82 meters high and three basements- in the Acequión beach lacks a favorable report from this body of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and breaches the Coastal Law. And he emphasizes that the project would constitute “a clear architectural screen and an accumulation (of volumes) discordant with the environment “, on a land that, although urban, is affected by the Coastal Law and the protection of the public land domain.
Grupo Baraka assures that it will an investment of 60 million euros, according to the company’s commercial information, which drops to 30 in the project’s viability report -the official documentation of this planning-. The goal is to build more than 130 homes and 250 tourist apartments. The price per square meter of the attic will reach 7,000 euros.
The government team of the Popular Party (PP) is scheduled for this Thursday in the Planning Commission, chaired by the mayor and councilor for Urbanism, Eduardo Dolón, and next week, in the last ordinary plenary session of the year, approve the detailed study of this Baraka Group project, led by the controversial Oriolano-Murcian businessman Trinitario Casanova. The reports of the officials of the technical services of the City Council that endorse the project assure that the Coasts report “is not binding” and that the land is urban before the approval of the Coasts law in 1988. good of the absolute majority of the PP the promoter will be able to present the urbanization project and request a building license.
El de las Torres Baraka -initially baptized as Torres Sinforosa- it is a controversial project. It is the most advanced in the process of the four projects that include 18 skyscrapers in different plots of the Torrevieja coastline and that will modify the urban landscape with buildings that triple in height to the highest of the urban fabric of the city. It is also due to its forecasts of integrating – whispering according to the opposition – and transforming the 6,000 square meters of the emblematic Doña Sinforosa garden, located between the future skyscrapers and the beach, to the commercial interests of the promoter. With changes that go through cutting down large trees because they break the perspective of the sea for future buyers of flats -pines, eucalyptus and palm trees- or the construction of a two-story underground car park. Modifications that Grupo Baraka defends as improvements to the green space because the perimeter fencing is eliminated and the pedestrian area is given continuity between the towers -with a commercial ground floor- and the Acequión beach.
The new detailed study of this Distribution Area 81 was prepared by Baraka at the request of the municipal technical services “to define in a greater degree of detail the connections for their adequate integration into the existing urban fabric”, after unveiling at the end of 2020 the forecasts of the construction company for the Doña Sinforosa park and the presentation of dozens of allegations to the project, by individuals, political parties and conservation groups. In total, there have been three exhibitions of this planning instrument to the public. The last forced by the social pressure aroused by the impact of the towers in the green area and urban space. The towers already have a favorable strategic environmental evaluation.
But these changes have not addressed the warnings of the Provincial Coastal Service about the deficiencies to be corrected in the field of the affection of the project to the Coastal law. Costas concludes in its report that this new “vThe version of the instrument has not yet been corrected, basically with regard to compliance with article 30 of the Coastal Law, which prevents the issuance of a favorable report “. In the same document, which is part of the public file for the processing of the plan, Costas, asks the City Council that “before of the final approval (of the detailed study) -expected next week- the aforementioned aspects must be corrected and the complete file to be sent back to the Provincial Coastal Service “. Something that the government team of the Popular Party is not going to fulfill.
Costas warns that the new detailed study is identical to the previous one in terms of Costs without “any notable modification”, nor the correction of the deficiencies detected since the project began to be processed on June 22, 2016. It points out that the promotion in first beach line affects to an unbuilt urban parcel, within the zones of transit and protection easements and throughout its surface, in the area of influence of the Coastal Law. The two towers are linked underground by a two-storey underground car park. Parking that “would reach the very inner limit of the protection easement zone”, warns Costas. This last point has not been reported by the City Council.
Modification of the PGOU
The Ministry of Ecological Transition explains that the entire surrounding environment of the plot is currently built with a predominant height of six floors, with specific cases of eleven. The Costas report makes three major objections to Baraka’s promotion that have not been addressed. First of all remember that the modification Specific number 52 of the General Plan of Torrevieja approved in 2010, which supports the construction in height in this and other plots located in the first line of the municipal term, was validated without the favorable report of Coasts. “In the new documentation provided by the City Council no mention is made of this issue nor does it attempt to justify it, so it remains to be corrected“. The City Council maintains that in the processing of that modification, promoted during the last two terms of Pedro Hernández Mateo as mayor, the municipality requested a sectoral report from Costas but the administration did not respond. In other words, there is no report because Costas did not respond at that time.
Secondly, Costas ensures that the City Council has not justified compliance with the article 30 of the Coastal Law What does that article say? That constructions in urbanizable areas affected by the Coastal Law They must avoid the formation of architectural screens or accumulation of volumes, without the building density being higher than the average of the urbanizable land planned or suitable for urbanization in the municipal term to protect the maritime terrestrial public domain. Something that the Baraka Towers fail to comply with because their volume in height triples that of the surrounding buildings – six heights compared to 26 – on the first line of the Acequión neighborhood next to its urban beach in the port of Torrevieja. The City Council insists that it is unnecessary to justify compliance with this article as it is land classified as urban since before the 1988 Coastal Law came into force. And he corroborates this qualification with a report from the General Directorate of Urbanism of the Generalitat. However, Costas reiterates that the exemption from compliance with article 30 is limited to plots already consolidated – already erected with buildings – before 1988, and the projected one is not built and affects the entire area of influence of the law of Coasts.
In his third objection, Costas anticipates that the fact of the volumetric typology “defended” by the City Council and the developer is in height “it would constitute a clear architectural screen and an accumulation discordant with the environment”. In this sense, the Urbanism area draws on jurisprudence and ensures that the Coastal reports “are not binding with regard to the area of influence (of the Coastal Law) on urban land, since the preexistence of the urban land classification upon the entry into force of the Law of Costs, it prevents the application of its article 30 and that the binding nature of the report of Costs is only admissible when it refers to matters within the competence of the State “.
ALLEGATIONS AND THE “FORGETTING” OF THE HOTEL
Some thirty allegations have been filed. Most of the spokespersons of the PSOE, Andrés Navarro and from Los Verdes, Israel Muñoz, as well as Friends of the South Alicante Wetlands, Ecologists in Action, a community of owners, Metrovacesa – which has just obtained a favorable environmental assessment for its own skyscraper project and will now process the detailed study – and the owner of a property affected by the new alignment from Gregorio Marañón avenue.
The vast majority have been dismissed. The only one that is assumed is the one that will force the Baraka Group to provide a solution to the connection of the rainwater network that in its initial project directly evacuated the sanitation network – in the purest boom style of the 90s from the urban point of view-. The bulk of the allegations question the treatment of the Doña Sinforosa park in the detailed study of the disappearance of trees and the transformation of the park’s current image.
The City Council responds to this block of allegations by ensuring that the opening of the Doña Sinforosa park leads to urbanize the free spaces for public use that adjoin it, in order to create “a large recreation area for the city.” With this objective in mind, the City Council “has demanded to jointly develop the space made up of Doña Sinforosa street, Doña Sinforosa park, margin of the El Acequión canal and free space in the area of AR81 not occupied by the towers “. For municipal technicians “the perception of a single space requires undertaking improvement works in the Doña Sinforosa park, respecting the vegetation as much as possible and not compacting the land. The same officials admit that” graphically it can lead to the error of understanding Doña Sinforosa Park Sinforosa as a compacted space (concreted) because the pavement that goes over the parking lot and the pedestrian areas of the Doña Sinforosa Park has not been graphically differentiated “in the exhibition recreations of the detailed study.
Grupo Baraka, specialized in rapid operations for the sale of land and housing development in Murcia and Alicante, after the controversy at the end of 2020 about the future of the Doña Sinforosa park, hastened to “sell” on real estate portals that will improve the green zone and expand it -although there is soil for that increase-. The modification of the PGOU that allows these towers, approved by the Consell on January 25, 2010, speaks of the obligation to dedicate 50% of the building area with typological freedom to hotel use, the developers have already quickly transformed the hotels with a minimum category of 3 stars provided in tourist apartments offer.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.