This week, the mayor Eduardo Paes sanctioned two laws, previously approved by the City Council of Rio de Janeiro, which establish urban and tax incentives to housing production in the Port Region. These incentives are a decisive step to consolidate one of the main goals of Porto Maravilha and it is estimated that 28 thousand residences for various levels of income will be built in the region. The laws induce the speeding up of the production of residential units particularly in two ways: the reduction of production costs and the anticipation of investments.

Porto Maravilha comprises the area of additional construction potential and the Area of Cultural Environment Protection of the neighbourhoods of Saúde, Gamboa and Santo Cristo (Apac Sagas), which corresponds to most of the area of Porto Maravilha. For the areas of increased construction potential, the flat area surrounding Rodrigues Alves Avenue and Francisco Bicalho Avenue, the law pertaining to urban incentives basically includes measures to reduce the cost with Certificates of Additional Construction Potential (Cepacs) – certificates that are required from edifices with an increase of built area –, facilitating the investment in residential enterprises for different income groups. This reinforces the tendency of balancing residential and commercial uses of new enterprises in this part of the region.

In the SAGAS area, urban incentives also favour the use of the immense stock of properties, many of historical value, for residential purposes. Moreover, the measures adopted facilitate the approval of Social Housing enterprises in the Port Region of Rio. The result is the integration of this vast group in the revitalization process and in the new dynamic.   

The Law pertaining to tax incentives complements this strategy, which the mayor Eduardo Paes defines as state activism. This instrument also has impacts on production costs of residences. Incentives are particularly relevant in the case of the Sagas area. The remission of debts is important, because it benefits the current residents of the region, given that they will also profit from tax incentives. Debts and council tax collection (IPTU) in the region that are not relevant to the Municipality can represent a significant weight to residents.

The second way refers to deadlines. Benefits of both laws cease when half the construction potential of the region is used for residential purposes. Furthermore, meeting deadlines for the approval of projects and for the delivery of properties (obtaining the “habite-se” certificate) is also required. Given that benefits are not permanent, investments in residential production must be anticipated and accelerated.

This induction enables an increase of housing offer in the region for diverse market groups. This is interesting, since there is a big habitation deficit in the municipality, especially among middle and low income groups. At the same time, there is good offer for housing credit.

As a result, the goal of increasing population density in the area of Porto Maravilha will be reached more swiftly. The concept of a lively healthy and sustainable city centre that recovers its memory and where people may live, work and have fun is getting ever clearer.  

Alberto Gomes Silva, president of Companhia de Desenvolvimento Urbano da Região do Porto do Rio de Janeiro (Cdurp), a company of the City Hall of Rio and the manager of Porto Maravilha