Tavira council decided in 2014 to designate certain areas of the city for urban renewal, a tactic that has paid off well, attracting private real estate investment in excess of €3 million at a cost to the council of well under €100,000.
The creation of an Urban Renewal Area in downtown Tavira allowed the council to obtain EU funds to repair parts of the historic center and as well as attract the private investment.
Mayor Jorge Botelho said that after the creation of the ARU in 2014, the council applied for EU funds of around €1 million to sort out the roads, church facades and to tart up the historic center.
Due to these changes, Botelho says the area has attracted private individuals who have bought property, €3 million in total.
"We made an assessment of the work needed in the early years for the ARU: €1 million of public investment, which was used to fix the streets and the squares, etc.," said the mayor, noting that "investment from the private sector was a big surprise because with incentives of around €70,000, "it was possible to attract about €3 million of investment."
Botelho said that Tavira has been painted, fixed up, the churches and museums attended to all of which has given a fresh look to the historic center."
The council also has been keeping its many churches all year as a way to attract more visitors and to help ensure Tavira is recognised for its cultural offering.
The mayor pointed out that people are buying in the city centre now that it looks smarter and that increasingly, there are fewer houses in the historic center that need fixing up and many others have been bought by private developers who have not started work yet.
Now that the centre is done, Botelho wants to extend the paint job to other areas of the city and see if private money again will follow.
Jorge Botelho said that the third phase of redevelopment will be along the riverfront to connect to the city center to the Quatro Águas area.