The mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, says that the City Council was not informed about the purchase and sale of an island in Campo Alegre “and did not have to be”, since it is not a listed building and is not located in a protected area. Nevertheless, for the mayor, the ideal would be for the City Council to activate this mechanism throughout the city. Not least because it is all “a pressure zone”.
The issue of exercising the preemptive right of Porto City Hall in the purchase and sale of an island in Campo Alegre had already been addressed in an executive meeting. Initially, the owner of the housing complex demonstrated to the municipality the intention to rehabilitate the island and was forced to temporarily relocate the residents.
However, while searching for solutions with a real estate company, and failing to find an adequate response, the company itself offered to buy the island in question. A contract of sale and purchase was signed, and the City Council of Porto, unable to find “the necessary legal framework” for the right of first refusal, was unable to reverse the situation.
“The whole city is a pressure zone”.
The councilor of the PS, Tiago Barbosa Ribeiro, questioned this Wednesday the City Council to know if “had the opportunity” to exercise the right of first refusal in this process. “In short, after an unsuccessful attempt to rehabilitate the island with Porto Vivo and ensure the permanence of the residents, the owner ended up selling the entire complex to a real estate investment company that has already sent eviction letters to the residents,” says the councilor, quoted by Lusa.
To the JN, the mayor of Porto describes the sending of the request as a gesture of “total hypocrisy” of the party, and also asks if the PS has put this question to the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (IHRU).
The mayor recalls that the Municipality of Porto tried a “private negotiation with the seller” and it was not possible to cancel the contract already signed with a real estate company. The JN tried to contact the company, but without success.
For Rui Moreira, “the whole city [of Porto] is a pressure zone” and therefore the right of first refusal should be exercised by the municipality in the whole area. In fact, the mayor of Oporto recalls that this is even one of the proposals of the City Hall before the “More Housing” program presented by the government.
“How many times has IHRU exercised its right of first refusal in Oporto? Probably not once in the last five years,” thinks the mayor of Porto.
The process of selling an island in Campo Alegre, in Porto, will force the relocation of the residents. The City Hall says it has not been able to exercise the right of first refusal in the acquisition for not finding “the necessary legal framework”. For now, there is “no urban planning process for the site”, but the City Council is available to find solutions for the residents.
Purchase and sale promise contract already signed
The episode, reported by Público, begins in September 2022: in order to enable a possible application to the 1st Right to rehabilitate an island in Campo Alegre, in Porto, “the possibility of selling it to Porto Vivo, SRU”, Society for Urban Rehabilitation was considered. However, “because Porto Vivo had other operations in hand in the eastern part of the city, this solution was not considered, with the owner maintaining the desire to rehabilitate the island under the 1st Right”, which would imply the temporary rehousing of the residents.
In December of the same year, the owner informed the Porto City Council “of the difficulties in finding houses on the market at appropriate prices” for the temporary rehousing of residents. And therefore, gave notice of its intention to sell the island, clarifies the municipality, in response to the JN.
During the process, a real estate company had already shown interest in buying the housing complex. Faced with the possible sale to a third party, already in January of this year, “Porto Vivo considered the possibility of acquisition but was surprised with a promissory contract of sale and purchase already signed with the promissory buyer”.
“Unsuccessful” contacts and efforts
According to the Municipality, “several diligences were followed in order to investigate the possibility of exercising the right of preference, both by the Municipality and by Porto Vivo, without finding the necessary legal framework.
Still, adds the Porto City Hall, “contacts were promoted and several efforts were made, both with the real estate company and with the promissory buyer, always in the presence of the representative of the owner, in order to facilitate the transfer of business and effective purchase by the Porto Vivo, which resulted unsuccessful, by unwillingness to this effect by the promissory buyer.
The Municipality of Porto guarantees that “it will always be available to find solutions to the problems of housing shortage that may arise, within the supply of housing programs.
According to the municipality, “no urban planning process was located for the site”.