The new Urban District of the Port is one of the most important projects that the Port Authority is currently engaged in. The idea is to contribute towards shaping the future town planning, converting the dock areas closest to the city into new spaces that can be enjoyed by everyone.
This District will cover 7 groups of port buildings and 4 pairs of storage areas, arranged along a strip 2km long and 200m wide. This space is a common area where history, creativity, heritage, architecture and entrepreneurship can all combine in the presence of water, culture, sport, innovation, tourism and gastronomy.
The integration of the Tablada Wharf into the city forms part of the overall project for the creation of a new Urban Port District.
It features in the Strategic Plan 2025 of the Port of Seville, which proposes the creation of a space reaching from the Delicias Bridge to the Centenario Bridge, taking in the Tablada Wharf.
Specifically, the warehouses on Las Razas and the storage areas on the Avenida de Guadalhorce, which are currently used as port storage facilities, will be assigned to functions compatible with the urban structure, restricting port activities to the areas along the edge of the dock where the cruise ships moor.
This important development of the port and city implies the transfer of port-based activities, such as goods movement, towards the Cuarto docks through the construction of the new multi-purpose terminal for multi-modal connections.
Port activities have formed part of urban life in Seville since it was first founded. The growth of the port and the city is now pushing this activity further to the south to create areas that connect the port and the urban layout.
The creation of the new Urban Port District means that Seville can enjoy a new section of the port area, complete with urban developments, green areas, walks, leisure areas, offices, entertainment, shopping and restaurants, with direct access to the waterfront and the city of Seville.
A Technical Office has been set up to oversee a Master Plan for the works to transform the port area. The plan is based on a relationship that encourages links between the port and the city to ensure that the port activities are integrated into the city’s life, opening its doors to a largely unknown area that aspires to become a new functioning district of the city.
The Technical Office, made up of EDDEA and CBRE as the main consultants, is preparing the master plan that will organize the Tablada Wharf. This Office will adopt a participative approach to include the various agents that operate in the port area and the economic and social bodies with a commitment to the orderly functioning of the port.
It will also define the model for managing the zone and any public-private collaborations to this end that may arise. The design of the new Urban Port District will raise the profile of the industrial and architectural heritage of the Port of Seville, notably around the Avenida de las Razas, with cranes, storage areas and buildings from the Iberoamerican Exhibition of 1929.
It will also form part of the planning for sustainable mobility in Seville and its green metropolis network, promoting universal access that respects the environment and the architectural legacy.
A period of 3 years has been estimated for the work to be completed, divided into four phases: the first with the analysis and study of the frame of reference; the second with the preparation of the master plan; the third for the drafting and submission of the required planning documents, and the fourth of support for the execution of the work itself.
The commercial warehouses of the Port of Seville, located on the Avenida de Las Razas, are an example of industrial architecture built within the city of Seville. They were intended to be port warehouses and the earliest date from the Iberoamerical Exhibition held in 1929.
The most outstanding features of the warehouses are their brick façades decorated with ceramic fruit motifs on the lintels of the warehouse doors, and on part of the facades.
Alongside the Avenida de Guadalhorce, which runs within the Tablada Wharf and parallel to that of Las Razas, the Port of Seville has some remarkable sheds with ondulating roofs that are still used for storing goods. Warehouses and sheds were landmarks in the modernization of the Port of Seville and will soon form part of the city within the new Urban Port District.
The earliest references to the Las Razas warehouses date back to 1924, when the Director of Engineering of the Board of Works, Delgado Brakenbury, mentioned the need to create a project to build storage warehouses in the streets next to the Tablada Wharf.
The blueprint for the distribution of the service area on the left side of the Alfonso XIII canal, drafted in December 1924 and approved by Royal Order on 5 January 1926, included the building of 5 starage warehouses parallel to the sheds of the Tablada Wharf, “erecting them in stages as required by the exploitation of the Port ” (Madrid Gazette nº 232, year 1927) According to this version, signed by the Sub-director of engineering, José Luis de Casso, the size of the planned warehouses would be 140 metres long by 55 metres wide. It was also planned that the side of the warehouses that face the docks would have a railway link, so the façades needed to be raised one meter above the line to enable goods to be loaded and unloaded directly to and from the wagons.
As regards the opposite ends of the warehouses, which faced onto the street (today, Avenida de Las Razas), they would be provided with large doors to allow lorries to enter the warehouses.
In 1927 the project was passed on to the bodies charged with organizing the Iberoamerican Exhibition of 29. Francisco José Sánchez Apellaniz, Secretary to the Exhibition Committee, took an interest in the warehouses and petitioned the Minister of Public Works, Rafael Benjumea y Burín, for these buildings -specifically the warehouses 4 and 5- to be built to house the infrastructure of the Exhibition.
The minister agreed and in the same year of 1927, with the Royal Order of 6 August, the building of commercial warehouses 4 and 5 was approved as a matter of urgency, as the original project had decreed, although some ornamental accessories were added, such as the pinnacles crowning the façade and the ceramic friezes that adorn the lintels of the doors that give onto the street.
The works were undertaken with a budget of around 1,200,000 pesetas. As mentioned above, warehouses 4 and 5 were built as “a matter of urgency” (as the building project specifies). The other warehouses (1, 2, 3, 6 and 7) with their respective buildings were built later, in stages, during the 20th century, following the same building style as the original two.
The works, which were carried out by the Board of Works, began in October 1927 and were officially opened in December 1928. This was the date when the Committee of the Iberoamerican Exhibition took provisional charge of them.
They were used as galleries for general use during the 1929 Exhibition. Once the Exhibition finished, the warehouses were returned for the use they were designed for (commercial warehouses) to the Board of Works.
In September 1930 the State Cotton Commission asked the Port of Seville for the provisional use of some of the warehouses for the imminent agricultural harvest, having failed to build its own storage facilities in time. In 1935 they were still being used provisionally.
In July 1936, warehouse number 5 was rented by the Banco Hispano Americano who then leased out part of the building to the Cod Fishing and Drying Company of San Sebastián, because there were cold storage areas with wells for its services. Warehouse 4 was subsequently leased as a deposit for oil. On 16 October 1936, the Military High Command of the 2nd Division requisitioned buildings 3 and 4 of the commercial warehouse number 5.
In 1937 building 2 was also taken over. Following the Civil War, in mid 1942, the directors of the Board of Works considered that enough time had passed, and requested that the warehouses be returned by the military authorities to the control of the Port of Seville - completely empty - or the military could continue to occupy them on the signing of a lease contrat with the Board of Works.
The Lieutenant Colonel of the Straits Region, Antonion Rueda, immediately answered that the warehouses should be returned. This order was fulfilled on 3 November 1942, fifteen days after receiving the letter. Since that date, the warehouses belong to their legitimate owner, the Board of Works (today, the Port Authority of Seville) where they continue to be used as spaces for the storage of goods.
The docks of Nueva York and Las Delicias contain one of the city’s leisure complexes. Next to one of Seville’s green spaces, the Park of Maria Lluisa, these spaces are surrounded by fabulous architectural treasures from different periods, from the Torre del Oro and the pavilions of the Iberoamerical Exhibition of 1929. It also has comfortable pedestrian access, a wide range of restaurants, underground parking and the Seville Aquarium.
Former gateway to the Indies, Seville became one of the most important cities in the world five centuries ago. Long before then, Romans and Arabs had made their mark on the city. Today, the capital of Andalusia has a rich monumental legacy in which the group of buildings of the Cathedral, Alcázar, Archivo de las Indias have been recognised as World Heritage sites. It has a mellow climate and popular festivities such as Holy Week or the April Fair, which is held just metres from the port and attract millions of visitors every year.