RIO — At the back of the pompous Itamaraty Palace, 16 addresses display the degradation that one wants to scratch off the map of Downtown Rio. Before turning into the current breeding grounds for rats and snakes, neighbors, two-storey houses and small abandoned buildings among the Numbers 133 and 171 of Rua Senador Pompeu housed officials of the Brazilian diplomacy. Now, they are part of a pre-list of 2,264 federal government properties in the city that will be presented this Friday at a fair to the market as eligible to receive purchase surveys. The package, with goods valued at more than R$1 trillion, covers everything from Rio’s architectural treasures to apartments in prime areas. And it highlights the weight of the Union as owner in the heart of the former capital of the country: at least 600 of the properties listed, almost a quarter of the total, are located in the Center. Among the many options, a União property in Leblon has been advertised for five years and a space in Brazil even serves as a chicken coop.
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Even disregarding the floors of buildings, commercial rooms and parking spaces, there are still approximately 200 federal assets listed in the region, including the Gustavo Capanema Palace, which has provoked reactions in recent weeks. However, according to a source from the Secretariat for Coordination and Governance of the Heritage of the Union (SPU), the building with gardens by Burle Marx and a panel by Candido Portinari, although theoretically available at Feirão de Imóveis SPU+, as well as other “crown jewels ”, such as land in the Botanical Gardens, the UFRJ School of Music and the National Library, will not be sold.
For all assets of the Union, explains the Ministry of Economy, the real estate market may submit a proposal. If there is interest, the Union needs to issue a notice for the sale to take place. But the filet mignon of this fair will be 300 properties, whose listing will only be detailed today: they are completely cleared, in other words, without impediments, such as invasions, assignments or pending legal matters.
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waiting for residents
At Senador Pompeu, which cuts through the historic surroundings of Central do Brasil and the fringes of the Providência and Conceição hills, the idea of a different fate to the buildings that are currently unused — which occupy land covering a total of almost 4,000 square meters — awakens the hope of a new breath for the surroundings. About to turn 90, Seu Aulius, who prefers to identify himself only by his first name, has been running a marble shop in front of the abandoned area for five decades. He recounts having watched the emptying of the two-story houses as the remaining Itamaraty employees left. The solution he seeks for the place would be mixed projects, which combine commercial and residential spaces, in line with the Rio city hall’s Reviver Centro project, which encourages housing and urban redevelopment in the region.
“I’ve heard about such a plan on television.” I think it’s right. We need to get people back in the city. If there is no housing in the buildings, the Center will never fill up and will be poorer – he says. — In this block from the front, on one side is poverty, on the other, the palace (Itamaraty).
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Nearby, on Rua Leandro Martins, another witness of Rio’s recent history, 72-year-old Manuel Francisco Vilela Alves, attributes the fate of the neighborhood, in large part, to negligence and judicial imbroglios involving federal properties. of cause. Since 1972, it has had a cafe on the ground floor at number 60, another property on the pre-list of the fair. On the other two floors, there are rooms that have been invaded for years, with people living as in the pre-Bota Below tenements, from the beginning of the last century. Behind Colégio Pedro II, not even the proximity to the works of Porto Maravilha and the VLT changed the reality of the place, one of the enclaves in which Rio seems to have stopped in time.
“I think it’s a mistake to keep my coffee here.” This here rotted away, and I rotted along with it,” laments Manuel, telling meanderings about how União became the owner of buildings on streets like Leandro Martins and Conceição. — In the 60s, Pedro II had a project to expand a campus in this area, with French funding (for what it was necessary to make public the use of buildings in the region). The idea never took hold. Whoever let it run by default was left without the property. We even had a contract with Pedro II, who in recent years did not want to renew it.
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One solution for properties like this, says Pablo Benett, a professor at UFRJ and president of the Council of Architecture and Urbanism (CAU), would be to allocate them to social housing.
— I don’t have a radical stance against the sale of this property. But I understand that properties with a social function, such as the National Library, must remain with the Union. Part of the rest should be bought by the city, for a symbolic price, for housing of social interest, especially in the Center.
The types of goods listed, however, are varied. There are, for example, vacant office floors in the building on Avenida Presidente Vargas 522. In Lapa, there are historic mansions to village houses and land at the UFRJ School of Fine Arts on Avenida Mem de Sá, amid the bohemian hubbub of the main bars in the region. The building where until 2009 the former Medical-Legal Institute (IML) of Rio also appears in search of a buyer, a point that even today some people fear the hauntings of when its corridors and rooms were inhabited by lifeless bodies.
“To live in this building, I wouldn’t risk it.” Will a spirit arise in the middle of the night! But it could, yes, become, for example, a medical school, as mentioned in the neighborhood — says the saleswoman Cristiane Costa, who works in a store near the building, which is now abandoned.
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Throughout the city, there are still addresses identified as invaded. Officially, there are 13. But it is enough to circulate through the properties of the federal relationship to count more of them in this situation, such as Leandro Martins 60, which appears in the document as vacant.
Building 891 at Rua Candido Mendes, in Glória, with 62 rooms and kitchenettes, distributed in the basement, ground floor and three floors, is on the Union’s property list as invaded. But the president of the local residents’ association, Paulo Cesar Ribeiro, guarantees that the families that are there are not invaders: they are relatives of people who, in the past, worked there. He assures that, for two years, he has been negotiating the transfer of the property with the SPU:
— In 1903, the building began to be built, being completed between 1913 and 1914. The Hotel Moderno was first used in the building. In World War II, the property, which would have belonged to foreigners considered enemies, was incorporated into the Union’s patrimony. In 1952, it was transferred to a branch of the Escola da Santíssima Trindade. 35 years ago, the school left Rio, leaving the building to former employees.
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Authorization to present a proposal for the purchase of any property of the Union is given by law 14.011/2020, studied by Luiza Bertin to do her work at the end of the course at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at UFRJ, on the commodification of public lands:
— They cannot treat all goods equally, just for sale.
Regional president of the Brazilian Association of Directors of Real Estate Market Companies (Ademi-RJ), Claudio Hermolin also complains. In this case, because the market was not heard, nor the list of properties without embarrassment disclosed in advance.
— Without dialogue with the sector, prices are wrong, with a payment model totally unreasonable.
The fair takes place at 10 am at the Ministry of Economy, downtown. It will be the first in the country to disclose the PAI (Proposal for the Acquisition of Property).