The Governing Council of the Community of Madrid plans to approve this Wednesday the declaration of Vicente Aleixandre's house as a Property of Patrimonial Interest (BIP), the second level of protection provided for by law, below the Property of Cultural Interest (BIC) . The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports, directed by Marta Rivera de la Cruz, thus culminates a process that began in November 2021 at the request of the Ministry of Culture, after more than two decades of political inaction, without any public institution having acquired the property, and with the opposition of the heirs and the other parties involved.
The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Community of Madrid justifies the BIP by understanding that Velintonia "is a benchmark in the history of Spanish literature": the house was the scene of the life and production of the poet and of meetings with the most renowned members of the Generation of 27, as well as the authors who stayed in Spain after the Civil War.
"All this makes this space a benchmark in the history of Spanish and universal literature of the 20th century," reasons the regional government, which has been a few days away from exhausting the six-month period provided by law to complete this procedure. .
About the building, located in the Colonia Metropolitano, Madrid highlights that "it is a construction built a century ago and is characterized by its simplicity and sobriety, with some popular notes characteristic of the rationalist architecture of the moment." The initial resolution, of December, indicated as elements to protect the façade, some rooms or the cedar of Lebanon that Aleixandre planted. It will be necessary to see if the final decree maintains these indications. Velintonia already had an urban protection that affects heights and boundaries of the house.
«The property meets the requirements established by the Historical Heritage Law of the Community of Madrid in terms of Assets of Patrimonial Interest, which are those that have a special historical or artistic significance. The works and interventions in these must respect their historical and cultural values”, concludes Patrimonio, which during the investigation process has received favorable reports from the Regional Council of Historical Heritage and the Royal Academy of History.
Far from resolving the Velintonia case, this statement is one more chapter in a labyrinth involving some heirs who are at odds with each other and the radical opposition of the Association of Friends of Vicente Aleixandre (AAVA). The second niece of the poet, owner of 40 percent, has opposed the BIP because she would prefer that the administration approach her purchase in a "serious and reasonable" way: "The timid and derisory offers received years ago are nothing but proof that even Now they haven't shown it." The Merlo-Useras, owners of the other 40 percent, deny that the house has any cultural or architectural value. The AAVA claims the highest category, the BIC, to prevent Velintonia from becoming "anything". The Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciata, affected by being close to the house, alleges that with this solution the house will continue to deteriorate.
"Writs of allegations were presented that were studied, informed, incorporated into the file and answered, after which the technical proposal was ratified with the incorporation of some corrections," says Patrimonio. The general direction has rejected the allegations that requested the nullity with the argument that the "special historical significance of the property as a space for the creation of the poet's work and witness of literary meetings" bases the BIP.
The Merlo-Usera have been warning for some time that in April 2021, two months before Rodríguez Uribes (and later Iceta) urged the initiation of the file, a judge declared the public sale in a judicial auction of Velintonia. "It is obvious that it is an event that can alter the price of the good or even deter some bidders," they have argued, and they do not rule out taking the case to the Supreme Court. The auction edict is expected to be published in the coming days. In other words, Velintonia could change hands in a matter of weeks.
What can be done with Velintonia?
BIP protection is the second level of asset protection, below the BIC. According to the Community of Madrid, this figure will protect the "historical and cultural values" of the property, without further specification. The Association of Friends of Vicente Aleixandre maintains that this protection is insufficient, and that with it Velintonia could be turned "into anything, from a restaurant with poetic and literary echoes to a private home."
Why is it protected now?
After years of negative reports, the Community of Madrid began the process to declare BIP Velintonia in November 2021. The reason? The demand of the Minister of Culture, who was José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes at the time, to urgently protect the home.
Does the BIP prevent the auction?
According to the Community of Madrid, it does not prevent it, since we are talking about two different procedures. In fact, according to what ABC has learned, the opening edict of the Velintonia auction is expected to be published in the coming days. Part of the heirs denounce that the BIP declaration will lower the price of the house.
Can this decision be appealed?
Yes. Those involved can file an appeal (administrative route) and can also go to court: first to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid and then to the Supreme Court. The process could take years, according to precedent. This was the case with the BIC file of the Albéniz Theater, which took five years to be ratified by the courts.