In the Monte da Caparica and Porto Brandão area, a new Innovation District will be built, a project led by Universidade Nova, together with private investors and in perfect synchrony with Almada city hall, which promises to be «a booster for Lisbon’s internationalisation» and attract 4.500 new inhabitants, creating 17.000 new jobs.
This is an 800 million euro private investment, concerning the first development stage of the project, which covers an area of approximately 120 hectares, to be executed within 10 years.
Within a total area of 400 hectares, the idea is to create a new centre within the Lisbon metropolitan area, «a new city with knowledge and technology at its centre. A modern, inclusive, sustainable city, where everyone wants and can live. It will not be a new corporate park, nor a dorm, but rather a place to be, live and work, rest, enjoy», described Universidade Nova’s vice-rector for development, José Ferreira Machado, during the project’s presentation to the press this week. «Nova believes in a University with its doors open to the community, guided by the social and economic impact on their activity and that it can be key in the knowledge economy of the 21st century», he defended.
Some ten private investors, with projects already planned or ongoing in the area, signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the development of the project’s first stage with 120 hectares and accepted to adapt their own individual projects to the common idea of the Innovation District. Amongst those investors were, besides Lisbon’s Universidade Nova, Cordialequation Unipessoal, Lda.; Rustik Puzzle, Lda.; SOSTATE, SA; Maia e Pereira, SA; Egas Moniz Cooperativa de Ensino Superior, CRL; Emerging Ocean Unipessoal, Lda.; RIO CAPITAL, Lda.; Orbisribalta- Investimentos Imobiliários e Turísticos, SA and Fundação Serra Henriques.
Some of these projects had already been submitted to the city hall and 6 to 8 of the remaining ones are ready to go.
Marcellino Hoensbroech, Southshore Investments’ Managing Director, one of the investors involved, remarked that «this is not a business park, it is a location where anything can be found within one single district. Nova is the heart of that centrality». And he further recalls that «today it is not countries or cities that compete, but metropolitan areas. It is time for Portugal to show what it does well and promote it. And this location makes perfect sense».
15-minute city: "Live-work-play"
Following the “Live-work-play” concept, the Innovation District proposes to attract around 4.500 new inhabitants. During this first stage of investment and development, 1.000 new dwellings will be created, but the project also includes other components such as tourism (which will add a further 86.000 sqm), offices, retail and services, culture, schools and student residences, green areas (110 hectares in total) and leisure, amongst others. Within this new centrality, all will be 15 minutes away.
Nova’s Faculty of Science and Technology will be refurbished as well as the historical areas of Porto Brandão and Monte da Caparica. New mobility solutions were proposed, in particular Lisbon’s river connection.
The goal is to create, over the next 10 years, around 17.000 new jobs.
This is «Almada’s big project»
«Almada has needed a project like this for a very long time», believes Inês de Medeiros, Mayor of Almada, who has no doubts about this being «the great project Almada needs right now».
The mayor considered that this is «a fundamental project for the development of Almada and Lisbon’s Metropolitan area and even the country». She further explained this new concept of city is «based on innovation, sustainability and on the quality of living on all its different elements, housing, employment, economic activities and knowledge. The challenge was for us all to gather and develop a common project, urbanistically coherent. All parties had that perception and managed to adapt their own projects to this common one».
She admitted that this «is a very ambitious project, but it is already on the ground and that transmits confidence».
«We have what it takes to continue attracting foreign investment»
This project is looked at as a new opportunity to attract foreign investment. Eurico Brilhante Dias, secretary of state for Internationalisation, considered the Innovation District fits better in the Government’s priorities, and that «the issue of territory competitiveness is a decisive element».
He recalled that «foreign investment is a very competitive business. Lisbon currently competes directly with Bucharest, Warsaw, Barcelona and Madrid and even with Holland and Belgium in some cases. And that competition is felt in qualifying areas, where investors are not only seeking salary or skills, but the space where the expat will live and the space where the workers will develop their activities». He is convinced that «we have what it takes to continue attracting foreign investment and to create new development opportunities».
Pedro Siza Vieira, Minister of Economy and Digital Transition, also attended this presentation and he believes this project «is an example which should be greeted and which we expect will be an example for other cities across the country».