Bilbao Town Council commences procedures to grade Port Authority of Bilbao central office building as private property
- Together with the disaffection procedure, which is being carried out in parallel, this new urban classification of the mansion in the Campo Volantin will provide the opportunity for private companies to opt for the purchase and development of activities in a private property, such as a hotel while maintaining its exceptional architecture.
- The Port Authority will put the whole building up for sale, as it is an oversized space, but will keep its head office in Bilbao.
- The modification proposal was commenced today before the Town of Bilbao Planning Advisory Board and must go before this body again, before completing the municipal procedures with the successive initial, provisional and definitive approvals at the plenary town council meeting, after a period of public notice.
- The Town of Bilbao Planning Advisory Board is a participative, decision-making sectoral committee comprising different neighbourhood associations, entities linked to environmental protection and town planning, associations with social or economic ends, alongside political parties with seats on the town council.
Bilbao, 11 July 2017, The Town Council of Bilbao through its Planning Advisory Board has commenced the procedures to modify the current General Town Planning Norms in order to enable the present main office of the Port Authority of Bilbao, known as the Olabarri Mansion on the Campo Volantin Promenade, to be classified as a private property. The building will thus change its status as a public town property to that of a private one, which will open up opportunities for it to be acquired by a private enterprise, while always maintaining the outstanding architecture of the building’s listed part.
Likewise, the Port Authority of Bilbao has decided to initiate the disaffection process of the whole building, whose total built surface amounts to some 4000 m2 since it is an oversized space for the Port Authority’s present needs, and more so considering that four years ago, the head offices were moved to the Port of Bilbao docks at Santurtzi.
All the same, the Port Authority’s initiative is not based on speculation, but is rather a rational, public action which ensures the maintenance of this exceptional building while at the same time bringing value to the town by allowing access to the same. With regard to the use, both the Town Council and the Port Authority consider that one project that fits perfectly inside this proposal would be an outstanding hotel, since it would suppose appropriate benefits for the town, open to the public and long-lasting for society.
The sale of the building does not mean that the Port Authority will no longer maintain its main office in the town bearing its name, since its management will seek an alternative place in Bilbao for its headquarters, but somewhere in accordance with its present needs.
The procedures for the change in classification are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
The Olabarri “Hotel”
In 1894, the architect Julián de Zubizarreta designed the residence for the Olabarri y Massino, and Manuela Zubiria e Ybarra marriage, in the emblematic Campo de Volantin Promenade, the present headquarters of the Port Authority of Bilbao. The works for this “hotel” – a term of French origin frequently used for houses built in the final third of the XIX century- were completed on 2 April 1897, and nowadays it is one of the few surviving residential buildings in the Campo de Volantin Promenade.
The Port Authority (then known as the Port Works Council) acquired the building in 1953, and under the supervision of two of the most prestigious architects of the time, Manuel Galíndez and his nephew José María Chapa Galíndez, set about extending it.
At the present time, the original part of this building, now 120 years old, is graded level A within the municipal town planning protection norms due to its extraordinary architecture. However, the extension from mid-XX century is classified as C protection.
This is why the modification to the General Plan must be submitted to the Heritage Committee of Bilbao, before the Council Plenary can adopt the initial approval agreement.
The town of Bilbao Planning Advisory Board
The Town of Bilbao Planning Advisory Board, whose creation was approved in a plenary council meeting in 2008, is a participative, decision-making sectoral committee comprising different neighbourhood associations, entities linked to environmental protection and town planning, associations with social or economic ends, alongside political parties with seats on the town council.
One of the main functions of this consultative body is to guarantee effective citizen participation in town-planning, by way of assessment and issuing reports concerning general municipal planning. Thus, the Advisory Board is informed of those matters to be drawn up by the Area of Town-Planning, or by third-party initiative, with a view to its members knowing them before writing up the corresponding reports; they may also make their own contributions, as a phase previous to municipal proceedings.