After a first foray launched in 2018, which ended up being cancelled due to the pandemic, the Belém Cultural Centre (CCB) is launching a new international public tender aimed at attracting investors to take over the surface rights corresponding to Modules 4 and 5, including the construction and operation of a project that will create a new hotel, tourist flats and a shopping and services centre, including underground parking, in an area of around 23,000 sqm. The winners will be responsible for the complex for a period of 65 years.
Although it was planned from the start of the CCB's construction in 1993, thus completing the vision of the "Open City" advocated in the original project drawn up by the consortium of designers Gregotti Associatti and Risco, the project ended up 30 years later "in the drawer", after a first international public tender launched in 2018, for which negotiations with Mota-Engil took place, but which ended up being cancelled due to the changes brought about by the pandemic.
According to the presentation of the tender, the building to be constructed in Modules 4 and 5 of the CCB, as envisaged in the original project, "should follow the architectural line of the three existing modules". According to the Prior Information Request (PIP) already approved for the site, 19,285 sqm are available for the development of the hotel component, which has a minimum requirement of a four-star rating or higher, and which will be divided between a hotel with 161 double rooms and an aparthotel with 126 units. The area set aside for shops and services will total 3,715 sqm. The main anchor will be restaurants - which should occupy 40% to 70% of the space - and the shops should favour "unique and authentic concepts, without massification and with a strong connection to Portuguese culture". The aim is to "retain tourists and attract residents by offering a new experience".
The remaining area of Module 4 should be used for other economic activities. The spaces to be created should be "self-sufficient and attractive", so as to encourage "a permanent flow of people who can potentially use the existing offer in the space itself", suggesting that they be occupied by workshops, co-working spaces, start-ups, etc. The whole project will be "supported by an underground car park with 220 spaces, on a single underground level", the Descriptive Memory also states.
"If all goes well, the works will be ready in 2027," said CCB president Elísio Summavielle, who was speaking at the presentation session of the competition, which took place this week and was also attended by the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva, and the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas.
For the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva, the launch of this competition "is a moment of great significance and a turning point", and the fact that it is being launched on the occasion of its 30th anniversary "is a new way for us to continue celebrating". In his view, "with the realisation of the project planned for Modules 4 and 5, the CCB will undoubtedly not only be the most differentiated cultural space in our country, but will also create a new centrality for Lisbon and Belém, creating new anchors of attraction outside peak tourist hours."
Contractual conditions "more competitive and adjusted to the market"
In force since today, 11 October, this second tender has some new features compared to the 2018 version, promising contractual conditions that are "more competitive and adjusted to the market, in order to encourage greater participation by relevant economic operators in the new procedure". These include the extension of the subsession period from 50 to 65 years, which may be extended to 75 years.
Another novelty has to do with the rent to be paid by the winner of the tender, which starts at an annual minimum of 350,000 euros during the first four years of the contract, including the construction phase, rising to a minimum of 650,000 euros in the following six years, and increasing again to a minimum of one million euros in the following 30 years. In the following 25 years, corresponding to the period between the 41st and 65th year of the contract, the total value of each annual rent may not be less than 1.25 million euros. It should be noted that these figures do not include VAT.
With regard to the technical capacity criterion, there have also been changes to the minimum requirements, which have been reduced. Companies with a minimum of five consecutive years' experience in the simultaneous or successive management of at least two hotels equal to or above upper midscale and having at least two hotels of the same category under their management at the time the application is submitted, one of which must have a minimum of 150 rooms, are now eligible to apply.