Spain: Unfinished Gaudí church gets permit after 137 years

Spain: Unfinished Gaudí church gets permit after 137 years
FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 file photo, dignitaries leave after a Mass at Barcelona's Sagrada Familia Basilica for the victims of the terror attacks, in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona’s breathtaking La Sagrada Familia Basilica designed by architect Antoni Gaudi has finally received its official construction permit over 130 since the placement of its first stone. Barcelona’s town hall announced on Friday, June 7, 2019 that after negotiations with the church’s builders it had granted them a work permit through 2026. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, file)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — An official building permit has been issued for the unfinished Barcelona church designed by architect Antoni Gaudí 137 years after construction started on La Sagrada Familia Basilica.

Barcelona City Hall says it granted the current builders a work permit that is valid through 2026. The builders say that is enough time to finish raising the landmark Roman Catholic church’s central towers.

Barcelona officials say the city will be paid 4.6 million euros ($5.2 million) in fees under an agreement negotiated with a foundation devoted to completing and preserving La Sagrada Familia.

The basilica’s first stone was laid in 1882, but Barcelona officials say there was no record showing a construction license ever was granted although one was requested in 1885.

However, work on the popular tourist destination never stopped.