Santa Fe, Argentina: Master Plan for Estación Belgrano (Belgrano Station)

Urban renewal surrounding an iconic railway station to support regional logistics and trade while bolstering local economic development

Provincial capital of a key industrial, economic and agricultural area, Santa Fe is a metropolitan region of over 650,000 residents. As a strategically located port city it links modern trade across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, while its nearly 450-year history gives it significant cultural heritage. Boasting 3 universities and another 14 scientific and technical institutes, Santa Fe is a center of politics, innovation, and entrepreneurism in Argentina today.

Project Background

In 2008, after 20 years of neglect, the city of Santa Fe began the renovation of its iconic Belgrano Railway Station through private and public investment, successfully transforming it into an important site for exhibitions, fairs, and conventions.

The Argentinian government recently made a commitment to recovering derelict public lands nationwide; given that 22 hectares of underutilized and flood-prone public land surround the now thriving station, the city is seizing on the opportunity to further bolster the value of the wider Belgrano area. The revitalization project will integrate this zone into the urban grid by developing housing, green space, bicycle lanes, and new commercial activities.

The central location of the iconic Belgrano Station, combined with the high buildability allowed by current regulations, give this project its great potential. The site is envisioned to be used for mixed-use development including hotels, shops, restaurants, office space, and housing, with integrated green infrastructure to mitigate the city’s rainfall flooding challenges.

The development will attract not only locals but also visitors to the city pursuing tourism, congressional activities, and business travel, including for frequent conferences hosted at the convention center. In particular, the opportunity for new hotels and business-travel services is quite high, as the city suffers from a shortage of modern hotel rooms and is currently enlarging the capacity of the Convention Center itself. Finally, a consortium of universities and technology companies are investigating the establishment of modern technology and research park on the site.

Project Resilience Value and Impact

The project will address some of the key stresses faced by Santa Fe, such as rainfall flooding, urban blight, a lack of investment and economic diversification, and high unemployment among the city’s youth.

Along with the 28,628 residents in surrounding neighborhoods, direct beneficiaries of the Belgrano redevelopment will include the young people gaining formal employment, the local industries of construction and tourism, the ~2,500 families from around the city that will obtain housing within the new development, and the ~60 families currently in informal settlements on the site that will improve their living conditions.

The city intends to develop the site using blue-green infrastructure to reduce flooding while increasing publicly-accessible green space and ensuring a sustainable environmental footprint for the site. Moreover, the new development must not detract from the cultural and patrimonial value of the Belgrano Station building itself. Finally, the Master Plan must be developed in a participatory manner with the handful of families living in the zone presently, including those living in informal settlements.

Project Status and Opportunity

The World Bank, in collaboration with 100RC, is providing support for the needed pre-feasibility studies. As of mid-2018, the project is in the conception/initiation phase, with the city focused on creating a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the 22 hectares of public land surrounding Belgrano Station. They are coordinating with the relevant state agencies to identify the required technical studies, with the aim of finalizing the Master Plan by 2019. The overall Belgrano development is anticipated to require around US$100 million.

For more information or to get involved: 
Andrea Valsagna, Chief Resilience Officer | a.valsagna@santafeciudad.gov.ar