FROM INDUSTRY TO DIVERSIFIED CULTURAL, RESIDENTIAL AND NEW BUSINESS POLO

A Vila Leopoldina originates in the final years of the 19th century, when the company E. Richter & Companhia executes subdivisions in the neighborhood of Lapa, a region bathed by the banks of the Tietê and Pinheiros rivers. The region was named after one of the entrepreneurs who led the company, Leopoldina Kleeberg. At the time, access to the region was by rail and water, with trains, trams and steamboats being the main means of transport used in the region.

The history of Vila Leopoldina is directly linked to the history of the Lapa neighborhood, which received a strong investment in infrastructure in the early 20th century, when it was chosen to be the headquarters of the main workshops of São Paulo Railway, a São Paulo train and tram company, due to its proximity to the Tietê River, whose waters were essential for supplying the boilers that powered the company’s steam engines. The São Paulo Railway and, later, the São Paulo Trainway, Light and Power Co., energy and transport companies, were important for the history of urban development in the city of São Paulo, as they were responsible for the installation of tram lines and electricity lines in the neighborhoods of Lapa and Vila Leopoldina. The neighborhood’s initial occupations attracted immigrants and businesses. The land with cheap prices attracted industries to settle in the region, the abundant workforce, mostly immigrants, was the necessary work force for the neighborhood to grow. Then, large industries were installed, such as Cia. Fiat Lux, Metalúrgica Martins Ferreira and Fábrica de Tecidos e Tecelagem Lapa.

 

Leopoldina originates in the final years of the 19th century, when the company E. Richter & Companhia executes subdivisions in the neighborhood of Lapa, a region bathed by the banks of the Tietê and Pinheiros rivers. The name of the region was given in honor of one of the entrepreneurs who led the company, Leopoldina Kleeberg. At the time, access to the region was by rail and water, with trains, trams and steamboats being the main means of transport used in the region. Detail of a map of the city of São Paulo, showing the configuration of the Vila Leopoldina neighborhood in 1924. Credit: Dissertation to obtain the title of master of Ligia Rocha Rodrigues, in RODRIGUES, Lígia Rocha; Invisible territories of Vila Leopoldina: permanence, rupture and resistance in the city, São Paulo, 2013.

In the 1930s, with the rectification projects for the Tietê and Pinheiros river, the waterways became attractive for undertakings to settle in the region. With the vast railway network present, it has become strategic for the arrival of new industries at the site. One of these industries was Metalúrgica Atlas, installed in 1944 initially as a large equipment machining workshop for Cia. Brasileira de Alumínio – CBA, of the Votorantim Group.

The 50s and 60s brought more growth to the region, when the Municipal Market of Lapa and the State Supply Center Sociedade Anónima were installed, the famous CEASA, an important commercial warehouse in the region, providing inputs for the direct population of producers in the interior to competitive prices. In 1969 CEASA joins the Companhia de Armazéns Gerais of the State of São Paulo, CAGESP and becomes CEAGESP, Companhia de Entrepostos e Armazéns Gerais of the State of São Paulo.

The 90s brought the Villa-Lobos Park to the neighborhood and the appreciation of the real estate market in the region, as well as the evolution of the old industrial quarter into an effervescent center of cultural production: several film producers and agencies have settled in the neighborhood, and now use it the old warehouses of industries such as film studios and advertising content – large pieces of Brazilian cinema were produced here, such as the renowned “Cidade de Deus” (2002) of the producer O2..

Allotment plan for the Vila Leopoldina neighborhood, according to Richter & Company, 1894.
Credit: Dissertation to obtain the title of master of Ligia Rocha Rodrigues, in RODRIGUES, Lígia Rocha; Invisible territories of Vila Leopoldina: permanence, rupture and resistance in the city, São Paulo, 2013.

Nowadays the neighborhood continues to be constantly evolving. In 2014, the Urban Intervention Project – PIU was foreseen in the Master Plan of the Municipality of São Paulo, which allows companies to propose urban improvement projects, aiming at transforming parts of the city to better serve the population. Votorantim started this project, leading the PIU of Vila Leopoldina, which covers an area of ​​approximately 300,000 m² of urban area, covering the areas between the marginal Pinheiros and Tietê, Parque Vila Lobos and CEAGESP. The project foresees the redevelopment of space, reorganization of urban spaces and housing solutions for the needy population, who currently reside in two communities within the neighborhoods that comprise the project. Altogether, more than 4 thousand people in vulnerable situations will benefit in the region, but they will not end there, as the benefits of the project will be extended to the entire neighboring population and region.
To learn more about PIU Vila Leopoldina visit: www.vilaleopoldina.com.br