Rio aims for its own High Line

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Mayor Marcelo Crivella wants a ‘High Line’ over Rio’s Central Station

Even while under criticism about the lack of urban care and money for healthcare, city council announced its intention to make a High Line in Rio, like the one in New York. Yesterday, Mayor Marcelo Crivella signed an agreement with Russia’s Olympic City Group that is prepared to develop, without cost to the city, a Public-Private Partnership to build a “suspended city” on the railway line between Central do Brasil and the Leopoldina station. The work is estimated at R$8 billion (US$2.49 billion), which should be raised within the private sector.

In New York, the High Line was built nine feet high, but over a deactivated railroad line. It started as a local initiative to revitalize the space and ended up as a large success among locals and tourists from all over the world. In the reform, about R$800 million (US$249 million) was spent, ten times less than what’s predicted for Rio’s project. But the Rio High Line has bigger ambitions and, in addition to gardens, plans to include shops and commercial buildings that would occupy an area of ​​about 1 million square meters. It would be 15 meters high on the SuperVia stations. The grandiose venture would pass close to communities, such as Morro da Providência, but the city did not address safety issues.

Olympic City Group says it will study a plan to occupy the area and analyze, for example, what changes would be needed in urban planning legislation. The investments would be made possible by a PPP similar to the one for the Porto Maravilha project, with the issuance of Additional Building Potential Certificates (Cepacs). The analysis is expected to be ready in six months.

The Cepacs formula is facing problems at the port due to the financial crisis, and the certificates ran aground. For six months, the city’s administration took over almost all the infrastructure-related maintenance services that were handled by concessionaire Porto Novo. And then, in a new operation, it began to inject more public money into the project, which returned into the hands of the concessionaire.

The High Line should be started in 2019. Rio’s city hall will still have to sign agreements with the federal and state governments, owners of part of the areas where the suspended gardens would be. – Source (PT)


Not mentioned in the article is the High Line is part of a larger project called Rio Sem Muros, to transform the railway line surrounding eight neighborhoods: Santa Cruz, Campo Grande, Bangu, Padre Miguel, Madureira, Engenho de Dentro and Meier. Read more here (PT)

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