The 22@ case study

25/11/2020

The 22@ case study

In recent years, Barcelona's 22@ district has become a benchmark in European economic innovation, thanks to various innovation agents such as advanced technology companies and research and development centres, which have managed to attract the attention of many companies both in Spain and abroad. The new urban plans and the wide range of cultural, leisure and commercial activities have been another key point in attracting multinational companies and talent. From Colonial we analyse the route of the most important technological hub in Barcelona in the last 20 years.

First of all, the 22@ district has become a national and international reference point, and this is due to the district's organisational model, as Xavier Monzó, President of the 22@network Barcelona Business Association, explains: "22@ means understanding that companies can live together in a city where they can live, study and work". To see the impact that this model has had, just look for Innovation District on Google, and you will find direct references to the district among the first results. All of them highlight the following definition: spaces in cities that attract private companies, entrepreneurs, startups and users alike because of their innovative and creative environment, with the intention of sharing ideas and seeking new economic and technological challenges. There is no doubt that 22@ meets this definition to the letter.

But it is not only innovation and creativity that attract companies. 22@ is also considered one of the most attractive areas in terms of real estate, and in 2019 it was the area with the highest office market projection on the national map. This circumstance is worth highlighting, as before its creation it hardly had any business activity, which is why its evolution over the last 20 years has been meteoric, becoming one of the most Prime areas in all of Spain. In fact, Colonial forms part of this historical development in some way, as it has been present in the area since the 1990s, and currently has five properties in the district in its portfolio, some of which are destined to become a reference point not only in the area, but also in the whole city of Barcelona, as is the case of the Ciutat de Granada building, 150, designed by the Batlle i Roig studio, which combines modernity and premium technology in its facilities, as well as the highest standards of sustainability, thanks to its LEED Platinum seal. This combination of efficiency and technology defines not only this building, but also the whole District and the companies installed in it, which seek, above all, to improve their productivity, creativity and work performance.

And although, without a doubt, the offices are a key factor that helped to revitalise the area, we must not forget the wide cultural spectrum of the area, which is yet another attraction for attracting and retaining talent. The entry of universities, design studios, exhibition centres and cultural associations, encourage collaboration between institutions, companies and citizens giving life and interest to the area beyond the employment component and in recent years we have seen the emergence of interesting initiatives such as the "Llum Bcn" Festival, which attracts hundreds of people every year who come en masse to see the art installations and visit the buildings.

Other programmes such as the 22@ Digital District encourage and promote creative projects and energy efficiency, and there is no doubt that the area has a clear sustainable focus that is reflected in both the buildings already constructed and in future projects. Such is the case of Wittywood, an initiative that bears the signature of Ballarin & Grinyó and that will begin to be built in early 2021, becoming the first office building in the country built entirely in wood. With this project, Colonial begins to explore industrialised construction and to continue advancing in the main axes of its strategy: sustainability, decarbonisation and digitalisation of office buildings.

To finish this article, we leave you with a curiosity: do you know where the name 22@ comes from? Once again, Xavier Monzó explains: "The name comes from 22a, an identification for the plots of land that are for industrial use. At that time the town planner who had this project decided to change the a to the @ and it was at that moment that the district acquired that technological character". Nothing more to add, from Colonial we wish that it continues growing in innovation, talent and structures another 20 years more Congratulations!

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