Moncloa Palace versus White House price tag

 THE Moncloa Palace, official residence of the president of the Spanish government, is worth €122,490,000. This is €38 million more than the White House, valued at €84 million.

The Moncloa estimate by was based on the 2012 average of €3,750 per square metre in classy Moncloa-Aravaca on the outskirts of Madrid.

The seven-building palace complex is set in extensive gardens 12 kilometres from the city centre and covers an area of 184,454 square metres.

There is a heliport, sports installations and a bunker specially built after the failed coup d’état of 1981.

The price only took into consideration the 32,664 square metres used for offices, reception rooms and living quarters.

Built on the site of a 17th century palace destroyed during the Civil War, the familiar, principal building is less old than its period design suggests.

It was designed in 1953 by Diego Mendez, the architect also responsible for the Valle de los Caidos mausoleum.

Presidents occupy apartments on the first and top floors but the living quarters have rarely found favour with their womenfolk.

The wives of Adolfo Suarez and Felipe Gonzalez were glad to leave, they later admitted.

“It’s uninhabitable for a normal family,” complained Ana Botella, mayor of Madrid and wife of former president Jose Maria Aznar.

Sonsoles Espinosa, married to socialist president Jose Luis Zapatero was similarly unimpressed by life in the Moncloa.

She felt as though she was caged “and inside a boiling frying pan”, she told an interviewer.

But the Moncloa could also prove a haven.

Two hundred people could survive for months in its three-floor underground bunker which also boasts an operating theatre and a stock of anti-bacteriological vaccines.

The bunker has been used once.

This was on the night of December 31 1999 when vice-president Francisco Alvarez Cascos took refuge there to escape the effects of the Millennium Bug.

By Linda Hall

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