The Eixample district is the heart of Barcelona because of its geographic location and for being the most important business, economical and shopping district of the city.
The name Eixample (or Ensanche, in Catalan) means “extension” and this is the reason why the area was born, when the city needed to expand during the XIX Century and the Industrial Revolution.
The original project by the architect Ildefonso Cerda was that of a garden city, with wide open spaces, buildings of maximum three floors very distant from each other, and no social class difference as all streets were supposed to look the same.
This initial project was criticised by the bourgeoisie and was subjected to several changes.
The main character of the Eixample is its regular geometrical shape clearly visible on bird view pictures of the city.
The Eixample includes 6 quarters: Eixample Izquierda (split into Antigua Izquierda and Nueva Izquierda), Eixample Dreta (o Derecha), Sagrada Familia, Fort Pienc, and Sant Antoni.
The areas were progressively built as the city grew, and differ a lot from each other,
The part of the Eixample that goes from Calle Aribau to Paseo Sant Joan is also referred to as the Golden Square, and it contains the greatest amount of modernist buildings of the city of Barcelona.
Fort Pienc is probably the least known area of the Eixample.
The name stems from a former military fortification that disappeared in the XIX Century called Fort Pius (Pienc is the Catalan for the Spanish Pio). It was erected by king Felipe V with the objective to keep the city under control after the 1714 war.
Fort Pienc is now a residential area with the youngest population of the Eixample quarters. The area goes from Paseo Sant Joan to the Plaza de Las Glories.
Although not very well known, Fort Pienc is an interesting area, which includes some of the most important cultural centres of the city.
The Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (pictured below) includes three separate spaces with capacity of 900, 400 and 300 people.
The Auditori is one of the biggest musical spaces in Barcelona, able to accommodate up to 2.300 people.
The Plaza de Toros Monumental is another landmark of the area. Opened in 1914 with the name of “Plaza de El Sport“, it was immediately extended to accommodate more people and renamed “Monumental” in 1916. It is the the last place where bull fights took place in Catalunya before being abolished by popular demand in 2010. It is now used for concerts and theatre shows.
Also very interesting in Fort Pienc is the area of Glories (which is the subject of a dedicated post). It is an area that is undergoing complete renovation and that is changing dramatically.
Fort Pienc also features the Estacio del Nord, the most important bus station of Catalunya for number of passengers and national and international connections.
Having developed into a residential area, Fort Pienc offers plenty of shops, supermarkets, services such as pharmacies, schools, gyms, medical centres, etc.
It is also the centre of an important Chinese community, who have taken over several bars, restaurants and shops.
Transport links are very good, with several underground stops in the area and many buses.
The Properties in Fort Pienc
Fort Pienc is a part of the Eixample that offers some of the lowest property prices, compared to the more famous and touristic areas.
Architecturally, the area shows a mix of early XX Century and more recent buildings, which offers investors the possibility to choose between a more classic and typical style (Modernist buildings, flats with Catalan vaulted ceilings, often with no lifts) and buildings from the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and also more recent times.
It is easier here to find properties with balconies or even penthouses with terraces in the more recent buildings.
Prices in the Eixample
The average price per m2 in the district of the Eixample has remained stable over the past year (source Habitaclia, October 2019).
The current price per m2 of 5.577,07 € is the average of the prices in all the areas of the district, which includes lower prices in Sagrada Familia, Sant Antoni and Fort Pienc, and higher prices in the other areas.
Prices per m2 in Fort Pienc are usually well below this average. It is not rare to find properties for a price per m2 of 3.000 € to 4.000 €, which makes the area extremely interesting from a value for money point of view.
Of course properties with terraces, view, nice renovations, or in refurbished classic buildings are more expensive but altogether Fort Pienc is an area where it is possible to find interesting prices for such a central location.