IRSA gets another City building at a bargain price

It was a good week for the IRSA business group. Eduardo Elsztain’s holding company not only obtained in Justice the authorization to build towers in Costanera Sur but also he was left with a valued public building from downtown Buenos Aires. It is the property of Paseo Colon 245, former headquarters of the Buenos Aires Ministry of Education and where Unicaba classes are still taught. IRSA added that building to its already long inventory of goods and land in Buenos Aires for just over seven million dollars, about $560 per square meter. A price below market value, as denounced by the opposition. You will have to wait a year and a half to use itsince the GCBA has yet to evict him.

The auction run by Banco Ciudad took place at the end of last year. It was December 28, but only now the GCBA confirmed the sale through the Official Gazette with a resolution of the Undersecretariat of Real Estate Administration. IRSA bid exactly $7,714,000 and surpassed three other private proposals that fell by the wayside. With a total of approximately 13,700 square meters, thirteen floors of offices and a garage basement, the business group paid 563 dollars per square meter of a building located just a few blocks from Casa Rosada and the Puerto Madero area.

The auction was possible because at the end of 2019 the ruling party approved Law No. 6,287 in the Legislature, which declared about 60 public properties as “unnecessary for the management“, a mechanism habitually used by the GCBA to dispose of buildings. At the end of last year, only in the month of December, the bank opened an auction for five City assets, among which was the Paseo Colón building, lands of the future Innovation Park –ex Tiro Federal– and a building on Avenida Córdoba in which the residents of Balvanera requested the construction of a sports center.

In the case of the building purchased by IRSA, the business group will have to wait a while to be able to use it. It is that, despite the fact that the ruling party considered it “unnecessary”, the place still works as a headquarters of the Unicaba and the GCBA had to incorporate a clause into the auction specifications that established that “the purchaser must grant free use of the acquired property on bailment for a period of eighteen months”, with the possibility of extending another six months. Something similar happened a few weeks ago, when a building on Calle Perón was put up for auction, in front of Parque de la Estación, in which AGIP offices still operate.

“It’s striking that the City considers buildings it owns ‘unnecessary’ when there are currently 52 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and educational training centers that do not have their own building and must rent, like four communal offices, eight Zonal Ombudsmen and more than 50 public bodies, among which is the General Directorate of Heritage”, warned in this regard from the Observatory of the Right to the City, which carried out a report on the Paseo Colón auction “To give an example, only in 2022 Rodríguez Larreta spent more than 380 million pesos to rent the Lezama Palace for the Ministry of Urban Development and Transportation, an organization that until 2016 was in the already auctioned Edificio El Plata,” they added.

The legislator of the Frente de Todos, Matías Barroetaveña, warned for his part that “the City it continues to dispose of real estate that it sells below value of the square meter of the area when they could be used, as is done in other cities around the world, to intervene in the problems of access to housing“. “Today the main problem of porteños is accessing a home through the deregulated market, the valuation in dollars that the local government encourages and the lack of public policies on affordable rent. The city needs housing and not adding empty meters for speculation about how it is happening,” she added.

For IRSA, meanwhile, the acquisition of the new property comes to add one more figure to the long list of buildings and land that he already owns in the City. In addition to the 72-hectare property where he plans to build his “urban coast” of towers up to 145 meters, the business group is owner of the main shopping centers in the citywhich he acquired over the years: the shopping malls of the Abasto, Alto Palermo, DOT, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich and Arcos District –through concession– belong to the group. Also operates the Intercontinental and Libertador hotelsand office buildings such as Philips, Intercontinental Plaza or the Zetta Building.

In February of last year, IRSA took another GCBA building, located on Coronel Díaz y Beruti, meters from Alto Palermo. On that occasion, the group paid just over $20 million for the building, also declared “unnecessary for management.” However, community headquarters No. 14 operated there, so the company he also had to transfer it on loan to the Buenos Aires administration, in this case for a period of 30 months. IRSA’s plan for that building would be to use it to extend the mall.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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