Today, the Port of Bilbao has hosted the signing of an agreement between the Spanish and Basque Governments which sets out a framework for cooperation and collaboration to provide a new and necessary boost for the urban development of Zorrotzaurre.
Among other representatives, the event was attended by the Spanish Minister for Economic Development Mr Iñigo de la Serna, the Basque Minister for the Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing, Mr Iñaki Arriola, the Lord Mayor of Bilbao, Mr Juan Mari Aburto, as well as the Chairman of Spanish State Ports Mr José Llorca, and the Chairman of the Port Authority of Bilbao, Mr Asier Atutxa.
Over the last decades, the town of Bilbao has undergone an intense and acknowledged process of urban regeneration supported mainly on urban areas historically dedicated to port and industrial activities The action relating to Zorrotzaurre Peninsula, which in the next few months will become an island as a result of the works promoted by the Town Council of Bilbao, was based firstly on freeing existing port lands in Deusto Canal, originally an artificial canal for Port use until the beginning of the century. Now this action has been carried out, the finalisation of the urban planning is pending, as set out in the Special Plan for the Town Planning of the Mixed Area of Zorrotzaurre, concerning the need to carry out a new route for the channelling of Deusto Canal by filling in Port water surfaces.
Specifically, the present Agreement supposes the articulation of an institutional agreement for the physical modification of the Deusto Canal route. It has been signed by the Spanish Ministry for Economic Development, Spanish State Ports, the Port Authority of Bilbao, the Bilbao Town Council, the Basque Government Ministry for the Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing, the Zorrotzaurre Management Committee and the Assembly for Harmonising Execution Unit 1 of Integrated Action 1 of Zorrotzaurre. The modification of the Canal will be carried out by filling in both stretches of water with a combined space of nearly 50,000 square metres, which belongs to the public port domain assigned to the Port Authority of Bilbao, with a view to forming a new river bank in accordance with the approved urban development of Zorrotzaurre.
Thus, the aim of the above-mentioned Agreement is to determine and fix the commitments and obligations of each of the intervening administrations and entities in order to bring a satisfactory end to the operation and establish a framework for institutional collaboration and cooperation. Its prime aim is for each signatory to comply with the necessary actions based on their respective competences and functions so as to make viable the execution of the filling-in works on Deusto Canal, as well as the subsequent disaffection of the resulting land surfaces and their incorporation into the urbanising process of Zorrotzaurre.
With a view to attending the general interest underlying the urban actions in Zorrotzaurre, which is of great strategic value in the development of Bilbao, the participation of the Port Authority of Bilbao regarding the desired aims is essential here for the generation of the necessary land on Port water surfaces for its later incorporation into the urbanising process of Zorrotzaurre. In this way, now the inter-institutional Agreement has been endorsed, the Port Authority of Bilbao, after obtaining the relevant administrative authorisations, will immediately go about putting out to public tender the contract for the execution of the filling-in works for Deusto Canal. This will be a patrimony contract for sale in the future.
As a result of this contractual procedure, the awardee will have to face mainly the execution of the filling-in works on the left bank of Deusto Canal with a 20-million euro budget excluding VAT as well as all the costs, expenses and actions related to ths action. The Port Authority of Bilbao will authorise the works on the public port domain, will later declare the lands generated by the works as unnecessary and will set in motion the disaffection of the same with the Ministry for Economic Development through Spanish State Ports, for their subsequent incorporation into its estate. This in turn, will lead to its transmission to the contract awardee, who will then be able to commence the promotion of property development as established in the Special Plan for Zorrotzaurre.
It is expected that after the proceedings concerning the approval of the regulatory specifications in the contract, tendering and awarding will be carried out throughout 2018, and the filling-in works could begin in 2019 and be completed in 2021. After the works, proceedings will begin for the disaffection and alienation of the resulting lands in favour of the awardee, and after this process is terminated, the building process of the property product can be commenced. This final stage is expected to be carried out as from 2022.