Over 130 years after construction began, the Sagrada Familia finally has its building permit from Barcelona city council. So ends a process began with its first application in 1885, to the council of Sant Martí de Provençals, which no longer even exists. Work is expected to be completed in 2026.
The licence follows an agreement signed by the city council and the Sagrada Familia's Construction Board in October 2018 under which the basilica commits to paying 36 million euros (£32 million; $41 million) over 10 years to compensate the city for its own expenses related to the project. Added to this is 4.6 million euros for the permit itself. The two plans were approved in February by the council, completing talks to regularise the situation started by mayor Ada Colau two years earlier.
The plans set out that the finished basilica can have a maximum height of 172 metres (564 feet) and take up an area of 41,000 square metres (440,000 square feet) with two underground levels.
The new planning permission only deals with the works on the city block currently occupied by the basilica. Its architect, Antoni Gaudí, in his original design had planned for a grand staircase up to the entrance, which would lie on an adjoining block since filled by normal buildings. That issue, however, is being left up to the next city government.