Gabriel Boric is looking for a house to live in. He can no longer do it in the small rental apartment that he occupied as a deputy in Santiago de Chile. Nor in the wealthy neighborhoods that go up the mountain range, where rich people’s mansions abound. It would not be the best decision for a young president, who encourages informality and emerged from the student street fight. Boric wanted a popular neighborhood, close to the people, but he dismissed the idea for security reasons.
This week, Chile’s president-elect set his sights on Yungay, a central commune of cobblestone streets and low-rise buildings. Founded in 1840, it is one of the oldest downtown neighborhoods in Santiago, home to intellectuals during the founding of the Republic and today dotted with large mansions from the end of the 19th century, bars, libraries and quiet squares. There is near there a traditional house with 13 rooms, with enough space for you to work in it and, at the same time, live in its custody. If the operation finally materializes, Boric will take less than 10 minutes by car to reach La Moneda, the seat of government. And less than half an hour if he chooses to go on foot. On Monday, Boric visited Yungay together with his partner, Irina Karamanos; he chatted with a bar owner and bought rock records at a vinyl store.
For a president of Chile, choosing a house is a matter of state. The South American country does not have an official residence for the president and the last person to live in La Moneda was Carlos Ibañez, in the mid-fifties of the last century. Patricio Aylwin in 1990 and Eduardo Frei, in 1994, lived in their lifelong homes in Santiago. But Boric is from Punta Arenas, in the extreme south of Chile, and now lives in a rented apartment in the tourist neighborhood of Bellas Artes.
The residence of the president of Chile has to meet at least five requirements: two entrances, that there are no tall buildings in the surroundings from which to shoot, have a hospital nearby, enough space to hold work meetings and rooms for the guard custody. Boric found all this in that old heritage house in Yungay.
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Already at the end of December, the Chilean urban planner Miguel Laborde highlighted to EL PAÍS the benefits of the Yungay neighborhood, without suspecting that it would ultimately be Boric’s favourite. “It was the first neighborhood created in the Republic, designed by the Government’s first official architect, José Vicente Larraín. It was always the welcoming neighborhood, for provincials and immigrants. And today it has good health and public education, as well as good-sized houses,” he said.
The house in question is newly remodeled and had been offered for rent for six weeks. Until recently, a small trauma clinic operated there. According to the publication of the real estate agency, it is actually “two houses in one, each with its own access and independent of each other, internally linked with a forklift to move between the floors.” It has 500 square meters, 13 bedrooms and nine bathrooms. The State will pay for it the equivalent in Chilean pesos to 4,100 dollars per month.
Boric has already confirmed to some neighbors that he was thinking of moving to the house. He moved like when he was a young student leader out for a walk on a sunny afternoon. Wearing a cap with a visor and a polo shirt, he went to a bar near his future home and bought vinyl. The owner of the store, Eduardo Brieba, uploaded photos of the new client to his Instagram account. “It’s the first time I see it, I never usually take pictures of myself, but now I did it because it caught my attention. He is a very affable person, very calm, ”Brieba told the Chilean newspaper. Third. “He went to see Chilean rock and pop records and took a couple of Sui Generis records.”
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