Cándido Guerra, the Town Planning Councilor of Sign (Toledo), unfolds the map of the town on the Archive table on the ground floor of the Area headquarters, located in a charming two-storey chalet with a large garden, separated from the rest of the municipal offices in the center of the town.
Is almost a metaphor of what the construction meant for this municipality in the north of Toledo of 27,066 inhabitants, on the border with Madrid, and which in its day was the paradigm of the excesses of the housing bubble hand in hand with the controversial Francisco Hernando 'El Pocero'.
Surrounded by file cabinets on all sides, the socialist Guerra points here and there on the map, and begins to list the names of the parcels, which resemble car license plates. Every detail of the plan is known to the millimeter.
"The Parquijote sector will be here, which is 4.5 million square meters of land that, according to the new Municipal Planning Plan (POM), will be dedicated to economic activities, industrial fabric, to generate employment," he says, pointing to a vast piece of land south of the old town of Seseña.
The peculiarity of the configuration of the municipality is perfectly observed on the map, divided into several separate nuclei, as if they were districts.
On the one hand, the historic center. On the other, three kilometers away, a little further north, El Quiñón, the urban development of 'El Pocero' where nearly 5,300 homes were built in huge blocks that look like young men from the highway. Attached to the A-4 is Seseña new and on the other side of the highway, Vallegrande.
In order to regulate future urban planning and create "a single urban nucleus", the town council is finalizing the POM, which previous government teams have already tried to carry out.
Drafted by the municipal government of the PSOE, United We Can and More Seseña, it declares the land located between the historic center and the motorway residential, which right now are authentic drylands, but that could house "up to 13,825 dwellings", even more than what 'El Pocero' dreamed of, died last year from coronavirus.
"If the plan were approved tomorrow, any developer could say they want to build"
"If the municipal plan were approved tomorrow, any developer could say they want to build in this area," says the councilor, who considers it a success if it is achieved carry out the plan this legislature, since a study of "equality and traffic" has yet to be added, carry out the "inter-administrative agreement" and carry out the final approval in full.
The new constructions will have between four and five floors, since if the single-family development -chalets- that exists, for example in Seseña Nuevo, continues, the provision of services would become "unsustainable". "It is that the IBIs that are charged are not very high. This is a municipality of working people and excessively raising the tax burden makes it difficult for the citizen," says the councilman.
Seseña will thus try to grow in an "orderly" way and not like when 'El Pocero' arrived, whose landing without half measures caused tensions with the then municipal government, led by the United Left, which meant that the residents of El Quiñón did not have guaranteed basic services at first.
"There are no homes available"
Interestingly, the approval of the Plan may coincide with the time when the real estate agencies finally hang up, 15 years after the first phase of this PAU was inaugurated, raised by 'El Pocero', the "No homes available" poster after numerous legal disputes and banking.
The houses go out for rent and only last two or three days available
"We are at a very good sales rate, of about 30 or 40 houses per month among all the real estate. By the end of the year there will be none living place free and then prices will rise sharply. For rent, the houses barely last two or three days, it is rented quickly," summarizes Sergio Montero, from Real Estate Mediations, who has an office in a local in El Quiñón with five employees and whose activity during the week has nothing to do with the weekend, when there are more visitors.
The company is in charge of marketing the last available urbanization of the residential complex, which adds up to a total of 5,300 homes, after an investment fund bought it from one of the creditor banks of the construction company and promoter of El Pocero, Omde 2000.
The company went bankrupt in 2015 and maintains a debt with the Tax agency of 87.5 million euros. The embargo paralyzed the initial idea of 'El Pocero', whose firm still owns numerous plots, of building 13,000 houses there.
The two-bedroom flats that are now on the market, made of top-quality materials, with Olympic swimming pool, storage room and garage, they are sold for 119,000 euros, a price that is still cheap compared to what they were worth in their day. Still far from the €50,000 that these homes cost four years ago, when the marketers wanted to boost sales in a forgotten Seseña that has now taken on a shine.
Two-bedroom apartments were sold for 50,000 euros; now they are worth 119,000
"People bought them like If they didn't cost and now many people are renting them," says Montero.
As the apartments were sold, a small bubble was generated, which even so is far from the high prices that apartments have reached in the capital and in the south of the region, such as the nearby municipalities of Fuenlabrada, Pinto, Getafe, where housing has exploded.
Brand new flats
"It's that for 130,000 euros," says the commercial, "you can buy, for example, a flat in the El Naranjo neighborhood of Fuenlabrada, but, of course, it's 40 years old. Here they are brand new and with a pool and storage room". "Houses are still cheaper than in Madrid and that is a great claim," adds the Town Planning councillor.
When I arrived they asked for 375 rent; now 600. They have climbed the vine
The small bubble has also affected rent. "Look, there's a lot of quality of life here, but lately they've been climbing the vine. They're asking 600 and 650 euros for a two-bedroom flat; when I got here I started paying 350, now I'm at 475, they raised me, but not that much...", explains Javier, who is draining a tube of beer at the bar of the La Torre de El Quiñón bar while holding a bread gun with his other hand.
It's noon and on the street you can see parents out for a walk with their babies, ladies back from shopping and various cleaning workers at work. "600 euros!" exclaims Javier, who works in a feed factory in Griñón. "It's that it's a lot of money for something, it's in the middle of the field; if you don't have a car you're dead," he reasons.
The complaints of the residents of El Quiñón are still the same as years ago. "The flats are crazy, but there is no business," protests Jorge, It has been living seven years in development.
"Here you can buy bread and little else," he says as he walks his dog, an enormous shepherd from Caracas who hides behind his owner. "It is that with the Covid I only saw my partner and me and he has taken fear of people ".
In the development there are two schools, several nursery schools, restaurants, pharmacies, various shops, including an Eroski, and an outpatient clinic, while an institute is about to be built. According to the neighbors, there is no bank -there are no ATMs-, "a lottery administration, a tobacconist and a large supermarket".
"I pretend that El Quiñón is not a dormitory town", insists the Town Planning councilor about a development that he wants to continue promoting. Thus, as soon as the legislature began, the municipal government resolved the condition of urban development agent of Omde 2000 "for breach of its obligations" to be able to declare 13 plots that face the boulevard as lots, thus facilitating the possibility of building on them.
"With the building licenses we will be able to finance pending infrastructure works ['El Pocero' las dejó sin terminar]", affirms the mayor, who appreciates that for months he has noted the interest of "the owner agents" of the land to be built, although many are waiting for the crisis of raw materials, which has made building materials more expensive and paralyzed the new buildings.
"There are several agents who have been negotiating for a long time with construction companies and cooperatives to start the procedures on the plots," reports the PSOE councillor.
In one of the two lots that the real estate developer Ferrocarril has, there is already a huge billboard announcing the construction of a new house. Specifically, they will build a nine-storey building where the 155 apartments will range from 98,000 euros -one room- to 159,000 -two rooms-. "We have enough movement already", points to Concha, a salesperson, who points out that they will soon put up an information booth with a show flat to show what the buildings will be like, which will also have a swimming pool, storage room and garage, like almost all of them in this area.
For the City Council, the "logical" thing would be for the El Quiñón sector to be completed before the new development begins, but all possibilities are open. The truth is that this PAU has a severe problem and that is that each parcel is assigned the entirety of the debt. That is to say, whoever wants to get hold of a plot must get hold of all of them and pay the total amount of 87.5 million. "That raises doubts that a new development agent will come; I have already warned the Tax Agency of this situation."
Meanwhile, the Urban Development Area plans to use a municipal plot near the main park of El Quiñón to generate the largest occupational training center in Castilla-La Mancha with around 27,000 square meters. The idea is to train the neighbors who are going to work in industrial development, about which several companies have already shown interest. "The idea is that the people who live here also work here and don't have to go to Madrid."
It must be remembered, in fact, that this area of the La Mancha community, led by Illescas, where the largest logistics complex in southern Europe is located, has become a pole of job creation and attractiveness for new residents from Madrid.
In the region of La Sagra, the price of housing and rent has skyrocketed and it is the case that there are neighbors who work in the area who are even living in caravans, as reported by 'El Periódico de España'.
After an extensive talk, the mayor affects more plans he has for the town, such as developing hundreds of public protection rental homes in El Quiñón or proposing to the University of Castilla-La Mancha to enable a university campus in the southern area of Valgrande , next to the Renfe Cercanías station. One more step to banish the black legend of the municipality with the real estate bubble.