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Lisbon looking for private investors


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LISBON CÂMARA is examining its options to get private investors and property developers on board ambitious urban regeneration plans for the city.

The core issue is scores of municipal owned properties that are being undervalued and underused and in most cases are in urgent need of restoration.

According to Urban Planning Department councillor Manuel Salgado, the object is to find private partners to renovate and maximise the rentable profitability of Lisbon’s municipal-held heritage.

According to an inventory report carried out by the Câmara, there are around 4,700 premises spread around Lisbon, of which 309 are in urgent need of renovation.

“We’re going to categorize these buildings and apartment blocks and evaluate the kind of occupancy and use we could put these properties to,” he said.

And that’s where the private companies come in: “We’ve got to re-examine our urban regeneration policies regarding these council-held properties and find ways of generating income and capital by having them done up and rented out as going concerns without prejudicing either the Câmara’s finances or that of Lisbon’s council tax payers,” said Manuel Salgado.

For the time being the Câmara aims to sound out the market to see which private companies might be willing to jump on board by creating PPPs to do up some 300 properties.

However, the Câmara isn’t quite clear on the type of business partnership model it wants to pursue and is likely to seek the help of consultants in the field.

Manuel Salgado says that it was still way too early to answer these questions because the process has only just been launched and because it’s necessary to “give one step at a time.”

The Câmara’s executive officer is also planning to extinguish three urban regeneration societies (Sociedades de Reabilitação Urbana (SRU)) and incorporate their activities into one central company under the Empresa Municipal de Urbanismo (EPUL) which would be responsible for urban regeneration projects.

“All of this is purely hypothetical and open to suggestions and for now the SRUs still have an important role to play,” added Manuel Salgado.

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