China in (the) Capital

Wang Jianlin to Invest 3 Bilion


The first winds of economic bonanza on Spanish turf have brought foreign capital into Madrid: from the magnate Wang Jianlin, the richest man in China, known for his disdain of banks and for undertaking his projects with enormous wads of cash. Seemingly fascinated with Spain (which, unlike half the world, he has continued to see as a land of opportunities), Wang Jianlin has made his name ring a bell in the country through the announcement of his purchase of 20% of Atlético de Madrid stocks. This news item now comes with two others of greater urban importance. One has to do with Edificio España, the massive building on the Plaza de España – a fruit of the impetus of Francoist development – which, by flukes of the crisis, has been in disuse for almost a decade now. After buying it from Grupo Santander and commissioning Norman Foster to make designs for its refurbishment, Wang Jianlin has permission to go on with the project, into which he is putting 100 million euros. It includes 300 apartments, a hotel, and a large shopping center; a program bound to be instrumental in revitalizing the area. Wang Jianlin’s second urban project is even larger, involving 3 billion euros for the purchase of a good part of the military grounds of Campamento, in the southwestern Madrid neighborhood of Aluche, and the construction on new urban land of somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 homes and a huge aquatic park which, as the municipal administration is quick to point out, “will have nothing to do with Eurovegas.” Some worried neighbors have begun to call the project ‘Aluchina’.

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