Under construction since 1882 with no end in sight, the Sagrada Familia’s prospects were already pretty bleak, so a $41 million fine is not going to make things easier for the basilica. Barcelona’s famously unfinished church is being hit with a multi-million dollar fine for lacking a valid building permit.
The fine will be paid to the city by the cathedral’s trustees, and will be reinvested into the city’s infrastructure. According to Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, $25 million will be earmarked for improving Barcelona’s public transportation; $8 million will be put toward improving metro system accessibility; $4.5 million for local street redevelopment; and $3.5 million for maintenance, cleaning, and security. While it might be a hefty chunk of change, the cathedral’s trustees can rest easy now, as they will finally receive a formal planning permit for the building.
Since Antoni Gaudí died in 1926, having only completed a quarter of the building, there is still uncertainty and controversy about whether the current design align with his vision. A series of other architects have tried to complete his work, but as the original drawings and models were lost in the Spanish Civil War, the feat has proven difficult. Right now, the cathedral is slated to be finished in 2026 for the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death, although hitting that deadline would prove very out-of-character for this famously belated landmark.