Intendente to be cleaned up

LISBON’S BLIGHTED and run down Intendente area is to be the next focus of the Câmara’s restoration and renovation project following the local elections. The area, which has long been a multi-ethnic melting pot of Chinese and Indians, has in recent years attracted many drug addicts, who can openly be seen shooting up between parked cars on the street.

The area between Rua Almirante Reis, Largo do Intendente, Desterro Hospital and as far as Martim Moniz is also a crime black spot attracting prostitution, Eastern European mafias and drug peddlers.

Recently, the President of Lisbon Câmara, Pedro Santana Lopes, took a walk on the city’s wild side to see, for himself, the degradation but also the progress on some projects aimed at upgrading the area. “It’s still an open sore but a little less infected,” he said. “I’m under no illusions that this is a hotspot for drug addicts and prostitution.”

Most of the city’s chronic drug problem shifted to Intendente following the closure and destruction of the notorious Casal Ventoso district three years ago. During the last council mandate, 70 temporary shelters in the Largo do Intendente, to house drug addicts, were removed. Property owners have also been told to carry out structural repairs to dilapidated buildings, some with council grants.

A site visit was made to the once famous Viúva Lamego, the stunning landmark building completely covered in azulejos (tiles) that is now restored.

Santana Lopes said that his visit was intended to draw attention to the blight of the area and the necessity for the incoming council’s executive to continue renovation and restoration work, adding that there was still much to do.

The Mayor also took the opportunity to talk about the renovation of Baixa Chiado, where 32 buildings are currently being restored with the help of the Renaissance Reconstruction Fund, originally set up following the devastating fire that swept through Armazéns do Chiado in the 1980s. “Thanks to the understanding of local traders and residents, along with the co-operation of the local district council in that area, the Baixa Chiado landscape is being transformed for the better,” he stressed.