New plans for Sant’Orsola: a community centre

New plans have been presented to convert the vast Sant’Orsola complex into a community centre in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood of Florence.

The former thirteenth-century convent fell into decades of decline after the finance police were scheduled to set up headquarters on the premises, but the move failed to happen. Developments have been discussed over the years, but to date have never materialized.

Now, the French group Artea has presented plans to develop a community centre with a training college, coworking space, craft workshops, urban garden, shops, a gym, conference centre, kindergarten, restaurant and library.

The plans were presented by Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, and the CEO of Artea, Philippe Baudry, on January 19.

“Something similar already exists in the Bastille area of Paris, and it’s been a huge success,” guaranteed Baudry.

Mayor Dario Nardella explained: “This isn’t a speculative move, I want to clarify that immediately. There won’t be any shopping centres or new hotels in an area where there are enough of those already. This is a way of kickstarting the entire neighbourhood, mending the relationship between Sant’Orsola and all of the San Lorenzo surroundings through three inner cloisters that will become public piazzas that are open to everyone.”

Artea is investing 31.5 million euro in the urban renewal project and work is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2025.