Revitalising commerce and social life in the neighbourhoods with ‘Amunt persianes’The ‘Amunt persianes’ plan is set to invest 17 million euros to reactivate empty ground floor business premises in strategic areas in the city’s ten districts, mainly by promoting shopping. The measure is part of the plan to relaunch the city in response to the pandemic and diversify and balance out commercial uses in each part of the city, fostering resilient and sustainable activity. The measure is also part of the budget agreement for 2021 between the municipal government and the ERC group.
An estimated 5,323 ground floor business premises are currently unused in the city, according to a report based on an analysis by the main property websites. The empty premises account for floor space of 1,500,000 square metres between them.
The government measure ‘Amunt persianes!’ anticipates different actions, such as the public purchase of premises and subsidies for tenants and owners of empty ground floor business properties.
Purchase of sixty empty premises in 2021
Sixteen million euros will be spent to acquire premises through a public purchase procedure based on offers from owners wishing to take part. Between thirty and sixty premises are expected to be purchased in 2021, depending on their characteristics.
The purchase procedure will start soon and include different assessment criteria, such as the offer price, the state of repair of the premises, the width in metres of the façade and whether the property is in an area identified as a priority.
Ciutat Vella is a priority district in this respect, and so six million euros from the total budget of sixteen million will be used here.
New rental pool for ground floor premises
This pool will be created in collaboration with property agents, the goal being to offer below-market prices for between a hundred and two hundred empty ground floor premises.
The properties will be made available for economic activity by individuals, companies or organisations, helping to drive the economy of each area or shopping hub: The plan will offer:
- Incentives for owners: the City Council will contract insurance (or set up a guarantee fund) to cover non-payment in the first two years of the rent agreement.
- Incentives for potential tenants: a price will be set which is lower for four of the five years of the project. The first year will see the tenant pay 75% of the market price, rising each year until they pay 100% in the fifth year.
New subsidies and automatic payments to help businesses set up in empty ground floor premises
Subsidies for projects wishing to occupy ground floor premises will be stepped up, with 700,000 euros available. This is expected to help get between 170 and 200 empty ground floor premises into use.
The plan includes non-repayable subsidies of up to 50,000 euros through the ‘Impulsem el que fas’ call, for projects which must be executed in 12 months, as well as subsidies of between 2,000 and 4,000 euros to cover the initial overheads for individuals or businesses starting an economic activity in empty premises, whether through purchase or rental.
Observatory for Ground Floor Premises
The observatory will be tasked with providing clear and easy-to-access data on available ground floor premises, producing studies and analysis and facilitating knowledge on these establishments. This will help improve the quality and impact of municipal policies, besides offering practical information for individuals or businesses wishing to set up in empty premises in the city.
Boost for advice and orientation services
In an effort to prevent ground floor businesses from closing, the Localisation Service for Empty Premises, offered by Barcelona Activa’s Business Support Office, will be extended to the whole metropolitan area.
Other services will also be bolstered, such as municipal information and procedures services, business finance, talent management, business handovers, international promotion, prototyping and innovation, individual advice for the reactivation of businesses and organisations, business training and subsidies for employing workers.
‘Barcelona never stops’
‘Amunt persianes’ forms part of the plan ‘Barcelona never stops’, designed to relaunch the city through a special fund of 87 million euros. The plan is conceived to support production and employment in the city, with direct aid for the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic (45 million euros), improvements in employment and employability (12 million) and the promotion of the economy and revitalisation of consumption (30 million).