Work begins on the top-to bottom transformation of Barcelona’s Old Port

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In the coming months, the Port of Barcelona’s Old Port, or Port Vell, will receive more than €86 million in public-private investments, corresponding to 17 actions that will significantly transform this city-port area. These 17 projects, which are being performed between 2023 and 2024, will change the face of the most public-friendly area of the Port of Barcelona, providing it with new spaces and new services for the people to enjoy.

The 17 actions represent an initial phase in the great transformation that the Port Vell will undergo in the coming years, and will all be finished before the 37th America’s Cup kicks off on 22 August 2024. Then, once this competition is over, the Port of Barcelona plans to open up more spaces in the port area for public use and to provide new uses to existing buildings that will now be refurbished, such as the sheds on Oriental wharf.

The 17 projects to be developed in this first phase of transformation of the Port Vell are: refurbishing the crown wall of the North entrance mouth; building the Nova Bocana promenade and the new Mirador building; developing the terraces of the new entrance mouth; refurbishing the sheds on the Oriental wharf; extending the Sant Sebastià breakwater; remodelling the fishing area; adapting new spaces for the Nautical Institute; Demolishing the Cinesa building; remodelling the Maremàgnum; refurbishing the historic Portal de la Pau building; transferring operations from the Barcelona Nord and Drassanes wharves to the Adossat wharf; stabilising and protecting the metal structure of the Torre de Jaume I tower; building the America’s Cup House – IMAX Building; remodelling the World Trade Center Barcelona and launching a nautical bus service between the Drassanes and Llevant wharves.

In order to promote and speed up this transformation, the Port of Barcelona has decided to assign new powers to Gerència Urbanística Port Vell – the Port Vell Urban Development Authority – run by David Pino since 1 January this year, in the areas of planning and concessions and to attribute it more financial and human resources. “We need to give more firepower to the Port Vell Urban Development Authority, which is the fundamental management tool of the Port Vell. That is why, today we have informed the Port Vell’s board of directors that we are increasing the powers and financial and human resources needed to support all the projects that we will be developing in this area”, explained Lluís Salvadó, president of the Port of Barcelona, during the presentation of the multimillion-euro investments that are being undertaken in the most public area of the port precinct.

In parallel, the Port of Barcelona has also bolstered its America’s Cup Coordination Office and has brought it into the structure of the Port Vell Urban Development Authority. “We will soon have seven people working in this office”, said Lluís Salvadó, who also recalled that “we are making a very important management effort in far-reaching actions that will be finished in a record time of 15 months.”

Speed has been the watchword in the works performed by the Port of Barcelona since the city was chosen to host the 2024 America’s Cup, in the words of David Pino, director of the Port Vell Urban Development Authority. The bases for the six teams in the men’s competition were handed over ahead of schedule and four of these teams have already been able to start working on the land. These are the bases of INEOS Britannia, Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Emirates Team New Zealand. The land for the NYYC American Magic base can be delivered to the team this week and work is underway on the plot to be occupied by the Orient Express Racing Team, the last team to register for the competition. “This summer we will have the America’s Cup in Barcelona, with all the teams sailing in our waters”, said David Pino.

Looking further ahead

Once the 37th edition of the America’s Cup has ended, the Port of Barcelona will continue to work intensively to make “the in-depth transformation of the Port Vell” a reality, added Lluís Salvadó, referring to projects such as the reform of the Espanya wharf and the opening of the Drassanes and Barcelona Nord wharves to the public, which will be accompanied by the rehabilitation of the Sant Bertran wharf, the site of BlueTech Barcelona, a new blue economy innovation centre that will house start-ups, international maritime institutions, innovation centres of large companies linked to logistics, transport, port activity and training such as the Barcelona Logistics Institute.

All of these developments will contribute to foster the Blue District, an area of sectoral innovation located mostly in the Port Vell area and where facilities such as Pier01 or the Barcelona Faculty of Nautical Studies, with which the Port of Barcelona has open lines of collaboration, are already operating. The Port of Barcelona thus once again claims its role as a leading and innovative port at an international level.

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