Works are nearing completion on a 9,600 square meter site where once stood an extinct stronghold of old, low-rise houses on Les Cortes, most of which has been demolished to be replaced by a park that Barcelona City Council hopes will be ready in the next few weeks. The evacuation of Cologne Castells and the demolition of much of one of the last enclaves created by factory employees in the city has obliterated the remnants of workers' memory, built a century ago.
As the future Green Zone took shape, traces of the workers' quarter, already blurred with the first demolitions, faded more than a decade ago. As modifications add up quickly, the renovation will cost €1 million more than what was in the contract.
The city council entrusted the redesign in mid-2022 to the company Excavaciones y Construcciones Benjumea, which offered to implement it in exchange for the council paying €2.68 million, including VAT. The price was less than the $3 million the repair was valued at when it was put up for tender. A month ago, the municipal government approved modifications to the project, bringing the final cost to 3.64 million euros, also including VAT.
Although the changes have been formalized under the current minority government sunAt least part of it arises from decisions made within the two parties Barcelona common And socialists. Mayor's team Jaume Colbone He defends that modifications that make the park more expensive are “technically possible” and that they mean “improvements.”
On the other hand, the head of the Neighborhood Coordination in Les Courts, Adela Aguillette, believes that the increase in spending is “incomprehensible.” He says: “It goes up a lot when the project proposed by the neighbors is very cheap. This spending is misplaced.”
The municipal executive comments that the bill has been overblown by “a series of changes” including “once works are granted”. One of these is the almost complete rethinking of the children's play area. The council claims the difference “offers different possibilities for play and exploration”, which acts as a “magnet for families”.
A report by the Municipal Institute of Urbanism notes that “although the project had already planned to build” a recreational area, the management of former chief architect Xavier Mattila requested “the commission of a unique play area in the Parc de la Colonia Castells”. The petition was submitted in September 2022, three months after the award was signed. According to the document, the proposal “has little to do with what is in the project.” “It has brought about important changes in the design of the area,” he adds.
The union fabric of Les Corts is preparing a resource to request clarifications about changes and cost overruns in construction. “This makes us believe that the project was poorly implemented. There is not enough detail in the report about the millionaire's expenses that have emerged,” says Agilet's assessment.