By Jaylan Boyle, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The project to revitalize the port area of Rio was officially launched last Tuesday by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Governor Sergio Cabral and Mayor Eduardo Paes.
Forecast expenditure for the initial stage of the project is US$392 million, and will include the redevelopment and reuse of existing buildings in the area. Mayor Paes has said that the second development stage will then absorb US$3 billion, mainly contributed by the private sector.
Some initiatives of the project are already underway. Construction has begun on a new access road to the port area that will likely hamper traffic flow on Avenida Brasil, due to diverted routes for trucks bound for the port.
The bill that will regulate the public-private investment partnership to revamp the port area went on Tuesday to the Chairman of the House of Councilors, George David. Known as Operação Urbana Consorciada, the project is inspired by many of the lessons learned during completion of similar projects in Sao Paulo.
Pedro Brito, the Minister for Ports, said that the work is being carried out to ease and improve strategic use of the port area. The bidding process for the dredging of the port to a 30% greater depth has also begun.
The new legislation is intended to set out guidelines for the occupation of land in the port area, with investors buying Certificates for Potential Additional Construction (CEPACs) at auction. These certificates will allow for the construction of larger scale buildings. Income generated by their sale will fund development of the areas surrounding the port. The initiative is expected to add R$3 – 4 billion to public coffers.
Mayor Paes has approved an act that will lead to the expropriation of the Dom João VI building in Mauá Square. On the site, the Prefeitura in partnership with the Roberto Marinho Foundation will construct the Pinacoteca Rio (Gallery of Rio). It has also been announced that there is to be a commission created to oversee the auction of a contract for the construction of a thousand-car subterranean garage. In addition, a cooperation agreement for the building of the Museum of Tomorrow project will be auctioned, for which the government will donate buildings.