The Buenos Aires Government will auction on February 18 the building located in Coronel Díaz and Beruti, where the headquarters of Commune 14, a civil registry and judicial offices operate.
The property has a base of 20 million dollars at the official exchange rate and the buyer can pay it in installments, conditions that NGOs in the district denounce as “benefits that no private person would get in the market.”
The property is in one of the most expensive areas of the City and the Government headed by Horacio Rodríguez Larreta hoped to be able to auction it on December 15, 2021, but the lack of interested parties forced the Buenos Aires Executive to modify the date. The certification was extended for January 12 and then for the 18 of next month.
The building has a ground floor, six floors and a basement and according to current regulations, up to 22.80 meters high and two retreats can be built on that lot.
One of the most coveted buildings in the Buenos Aires real estate market
The Beruti and Coronel Díaz building is one of the most coveted in the Buenos Aires real estate market and had already been sold by the City in 1996. At that time, Mayor Jorge Domínguez (PJ) decided to auction it off without complying with all legal requirements.
The auction was organized by Banco Ciudad and the company Alto Palermo SA, owner of the homonymous shopping mall and belonging to IRSA, which kept the property after offering 4 million pesos, equivalent to 4 million dollars at the time.
Domínguez was denounced for putting the property up for sale without going through the Deliberative Council or substantiating the operation. That is why he decided to cancel the sale and the building continued under the orbit of the Buenos Aires Government.
The base price of 20,000,361 million dollars for 8,475.71 square meters means a value of $2,359.72 per square meter. This figure is very similar to the average price of Palermo that specialized companies place at 2,173 dollars per meter.
However, there is a difference with the real price of the property: while the real estate companies calculate the value with the reference of the unofficial dollar, the City Bank auctions them taking the value of the official dollar. This discrepancy makes the square meter of the Beruti building is close to 252,511 pesos when it should be sold at 459,584 pesos.
In addition to the price, there are also questions about the form of payment that the City allows: the winner can pay the value in installments, an advantage that does not exist in the market.
“The Government gets rid of buildings that have a high real estate value. They are well-located properties that go on the market with a very low price. They are the only ones that are paid in pesos in the City and also in installments. These are benefits that no private would get in the formal market,” Jonatan Baldiviezo, head of the Observatory for the Right to the City and member of the Movement The City We Are Who Inhabit It, told Télam.
Law 4,804, which authorized the sale of the Beruti 3345/47 property, was passed in November 2013 during Mauricio Macri’s second term as head of the City Government. The regulations provided that the money obtained from the future auction would be used for the construction of the Judicial City in the Barracas neighborhood. The project to bring together all the jurisdictions of the capital in the same place never materialized, but the law allowed the administration of Rodríguez Larreta to dispose of the property.
Almost eight years later, the Buenos Aires Executive Power decided to auction the building, but in the same resolution that authorized the sale it was clarified that the money would go to the local Treasury because the “economic emergency” declared in 2020 by Rodríguez Larreta is in force and passed by the Legislature. This regulation allows your Government to readjust budget items and also redirect resources to the areas it deems convenient.
“In accordance with article 4 of Law No. 6,301 (extended by Law No. 6,384, article 10), the suspension was established, for the duration of the economic and financial emergency, of the specific allocation of own and affected resources defined in the article 46, subparagraphs b) and c) of Law No. 70 (text consolidated by Law No. 6,347) providing for the transfer of the same to the single account of the Treasury of the Government of the City”, can be read in resolution No. 75/SSABI/21.
“The Law that was voted in 2013 established that the proceeds from the sale should be used for the construction or purchase of buildings of the Judicial Power. It is clear that this money will never arrive, the problem is that other properties are needed to locate the dependencies that worked in the Beruti building. It is a discussion that we are going to have this year,” they pointed out to Télam from the Buenos Aires justice.
In the auction specifications it is clarified thate The Government will have a period of 36 months to deliver the property to the buyer, but it is still uncertain where the courts, official offices and the community headquarters that work in the building will be located.
“We are surprised, it is something without consultation that did not go through the community board. We do not know when we are going to move or where. There is never any information about these issues,” María Paz Carreira Griot, from the Front of All and belonging to the community, told Télam. Board of Commune 14.
According to a report by the Observatory for the Right to the City, Since the pandemic began, the Buenos Aires government has sold 67 properties at “ridiculous” prices for a total of $65,755,858. In total, they involve more than 10,000 square meters of buildings and 1.3 hectares of public land that passed into private hands.
“Public auctions in the city have an aroma of cartelization, of an agreement between the dominant companies in the distribution of those who seize public land. It is recurrent that only one bidder appears in the auctions,” Baldiviezo analyzed. The lawyer assures that there are very few companies that have the capacity to acquire the land that goes on sale in the city of Buenos Aires.
Since 2011, during the governments of Macri and Rodríguez Larreta, the City divested almost 500 hectares of public land, most of them belonging to the most expensive areas of the Buenos Aires territory.
“The City should not dispose of its properties so lightly. In addition, it is worth clarifying that it is disposing of a heritage that does not belong to an official or legislator, but belongs to all the porteños,” María José Leveratto, an architect, explained to Télam specialist in environmental sustainability.
“Public land is a scarce good that is very difficult to recover once it is sold, particularly when it comes to significant buildings and large estates. Having land and buildings allows the State to define and influence very diverse issues such as land value , the revitalization of urban areas, rental prices and other issues. It is an essential tool to guide urban development”added Leveratto, who is also a member of the Collective of Architects in Defense of Public Lands.