Public auction of Confiança without bids

The public auction for the sale of the building of the old Confiança factory, in Braga, for at least 3.6 million euros, was deserted today due to a lack of tenders, a municipal source told Lusa.

The auction promoted by the Braga Chamber was left with no purchase proposals, with only “some questions” being asked, informed a source from the municipality.

The sale of the factory, in the process of being classified as a property of public interest, was contested by the opposition and by a civic platform, which defend the continuity of the property in the public sphere.

The base price of the public auction was 3.6 million euros, the same amount paid in 2012 by the municipality for the acquisition of the building, designed by José da Costa Vilaça and inaugurated in 1921, having produced perfumes and soaps until 2005.

Contacted by Lusa, the Platform Save the Factory Confidence today expressed satisfaction at the fact that the sale did not materialize, stressing that the lack of tenders “just shows that there are many doubts” about the process.

“Some of them were placed today” on the public auction, added the representative of the Platform.

For the Platform, another proof of the existing doubts is “the public notice published on Thursday, in the evening, with eight pages”, adding information to the specifications of the public auction.

Lusa also tried, without success so far, to obtain comments from the Braga Chamber on the results of the public auction.

The municipality stressed that it had drawn up a specification that, “in addition to fully safeguarding” the volume of the old factory, provided for the construction of a new building intended exclusively for the university residence, with a capacity for 300 accommodation units.

The document also pointed to the creation, in the main building, of an interpretive center / museum of the memory of Confiança and support services for university residences.

The specifications were prepared after the approval of the prior information request (PIP), which received a favorable opinion from the Regional Directorate for Culture of the North and the National Council of Culture.

The sale of the building is contested by PS, CDU and Bloco de Esquerda, and also by the Save the Factory Trust Trust Platform, for whom the property should remain in the public sphere and be converted into cultural equipment.

They claim that it will be a “China deal” for the private person to buy, since it will pay, in 2020, the same amount that the council paid in 2012 when it purchased the building.

They also say that the university residency argument is a “scam”, stressing that, “at most”, what could be born there will be “a residence for university students”, at high prices.

They also criticize the alienation of “the last stronghold of industrial memory” in the city.

The platform filed a precautionary measure, accepted by the Administrative and Fiscal Court of Braga, in which it alleges that there is a violation of the Municipal Master Plan (PDM).

According to the platform, what is planned for the site is not a university residence, but “a markedly real estate development in the free housing market, with an eventual marketing strategy aimed at the university market”.

Stresses that the PDM consecrates that area for equipment.

The precautionary measure suspends the PIP, so, the platform warns, an eventual buyer in today’s public auction “has no guarantee” of being able to build on the spot.

The Chamber led by the socialist Mesquita Machado even opened a contest of ideas for the building, but in 2013 the chamber changed hands.

In September 2018, the new majority PSD / CDS-PP / PPM voted for the sale, claiming that, due to lack of funds available for rehabilitation, the building is in a “state of visible and progressive degradation”.

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