The Real Deal National

After 137 years, this landmark church finally got a building permit

La Sagrada Família, an unfinished Antoni Gaudí masterpiece, attracts 4.5 million people each year
June 15, 2019 04:00PM

Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona (Credit: iStock)

Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona (Credit: iStock)

The city of Barcelona has finally issued a building permit for La Sagrada Família, an architectural landmark in the Spanish city that has been under construction since 1882.

The city licensed a committee to finish the construction of the Roman Catholic basilica and charge a fee of 4.6 million euros ($5.2 million), CNN reported.

License fee proceeds will fund efforts to soften the local impact of the church’s global appeal: 4.5 million people a year visit Sagrada Família, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Agence France-Presse reported that the prior lack of a building permit for the neo-Gothic church was “a historical anomaly in the city… It was being constructed illegally.”

Antoni Gaudí, the famous Catalan designer of Sagrada Família, had requested a local government permit to build the basilica, but never got a response before construction started 137 years ago. The idiosyncratic building designs across Barcelona are part of the architectural legacy of Gaudí.

Multiple architects have subsequently worked to help finish Sagrada Família in a Gaudí-inspired design.

The newly issued building permit shows that, when the basilica is finished, it will be 172 meters (564 feet) tall, and the final phase of construction is estimated to cost 374 million euros ($420 million), AFP reported. (As a matter of comparison, The Real Deal noted in April a group of French billionaires donating about $339 million to fund the cost of rebuilding the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a disastrous fire.)

The unfinished Sagrada Família should be completed by 2026 — exactly 100 years after Gaudi died. [CNN] — Mike Seemuth