I have added Marlet 1, an unusual building renovation in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, to my showcase of new developments for sale in Spain. This handsome building comes with Roman ruins in the basement, and a centuries-old ghost (some say).
On Wednesday night I attended a party on the roof terrace of Marlet 1 in Barcelona’s Barrio Gótico to celebrate the end of building works with 40% of the development already spoken for, and the remaining homes set to go fast, I expect, now that construction is finished.
On a warm clear night 145 guests including potential clients, property professionals, journalists, and the odd public personality (Joan Laporta, ex-president of Barça) enjoyed music, drinks, and canapes to celebrate the end of building works at Marlet 1, and look around the building and its showflat.
ROOF WITH A VIEW
The Barcelona views from the roof terrace of Marlet 1 are hard to beat, taking in many of the city’s landmarks, including the Gothic Cathedral, City Hall, Santa Maria del Pi, Montjuic, Tibidabo, the Hotel W and the sea. You even get a glimpse of the spires of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia half way across the city in the Eixample, and all the owners at Marlet 1 can enjoy these views: The penthouses come with private rooftop terraces, whilst the other flats share one.
Marlet 1 is located next to the Great Synagogue of Barcelona, where the original Roman city became the Jewish quarter of Barcelona, and a shelter for sick, poor and travellers was erected whose commemorative plaque of 1314, dedicated to the Rabbi who founded it, is still preserved in the building. Legend has it there is a ghost here – said to be the daughter of one of the Rabbi’s from centuries ago.
The Jewish Quarter of Barcelona, called “El Call” or “Congregation” in Hebrew, used to be intimidating to visit at night, but in the past 10 years has transformed into a safe and super-trendy district with a variety of wine bars, coffee shops, craft beer bars, etc., alongside many traditional shops selling antique instruments, jewelry, art studios, antique furniture, and so in. It’s a romantic setting, full of charm and character, which is why the Barrio Gótico attracts so many visitors. But although the tourists throng the streets nearby, Marlet itself is an oasis of calm.
Marlet 1 was built around 1880, in place of an original structure that was the home of Barcelona’s Rabbi in medieval times, below which are Roman ruins. Given the history and location of the building, it was a complicated project that required vision to imagine what could be done, and tremendous ability to pull it off. Developed by ARC Properties, led by the visionary team of Lane Auten and Jan Maarten Goedemans, working with the renowned firm of architects Lagula Arquitectes, the result is an exquisite blend of history and high-end contemporary design that sets a precedent for luxury redevelopment in Barcelona’s Old Town.
“We fell in love with this building at first sight,” explains Lane Auten, the founding partner of ARC Properties, a new-generation developer in Barcelona offering high-end design in a historic setting. “Barcelona is a city of contrasts and an obsession with Mediterranean light, as you see with Gaudi and the Modernistas. With Marlet, we found a building where were able to successfully juxtapose History with Contemporary, Gothic with Light, and Classic Features with Modern Living. It makes us happy thinking that there will be families and friends enjoying Barcelona and infusing life into this historical landmark”.
RENOVATION CHALLENGE OF THE FIRST ORDER
“In Marlet 1, paradoxically, there was a technological challenge of the first order,” explains Martín Ezquerro Fernández of Lagula Arquitectes. “Being so honest and so respectful of the original building and its context meant having to develop a very detailed rehabilitation project in which we have sought the best solution to each problem. We have also been very specific in applying the optimal technological solution for each case, in order not to distort the original strength and logic of the building.”
Marlet 1 is a top class redevelopment by any standards. I doubt you will find many other developments in the world that bring together so many attractive features from the past and the present. In the words of project architect Martín Ezquerro “Marlet 1 is history, archaeology, conservation and restoration, it is the desire to preserve and make visible all that which has passed. But it is also technology, innovation, sustainability and freshness that will sustain all that is to come. It is a proposition of life today in the atmosphere of yesterday.
Marlet 1 will appeal to second-home buyers or investors looking for something special in a prime, historic location like the Jewish quarter of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.