Spanish developer Francisco Hernando, better known as ‘El Pocero’, or ‘Mr. Drains’, is abandoning all building work on his macro-urbanisation in Seseña, not far from Madrid, and heading off to build homes in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, one of the least developed, and most corrupt countries in Africa.
‘Mr. Drains’ is the developer behind the massive ‘Residencial Francisco Hernando’ urbanisation (named after himself, of course) in Seseña, a dormitory town some 40 kilometres south of Madrid. El Pocero planned to build a mini-city in Seseña for families driven out of Madrid by high prices and a shortage of family-friendly housing.
Surrounded by scandal, this vast, monolithic, eyesore of an urbanisation came to symbolise much of what went wrong in Spain’s recent property boom.
If it wasn’t for the sunshine, it could easily be mistaken for a Soviet-era housing estate from behind the iron curtain.
El Pocero leaves Seseña only half built. Of the 13,500 homes that were planned, just 5,000 have been finished, of which only 3,000 were sold, mainly to speculative investors, and 2,000 handed over to creditor banks to pay off debts. With hardly any residents, the urbanisation looks like a ghost town. El Pocero says he will return to finish building Seseña when the market picks up.
Turning to the future, ‘Mr. Drains’ plans to build 36,000 homes in Equatorial Guinea.