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alternative Assets News: Spanish Real Estate Intelligence

CPPIB Puts Valencia's Largest Hall of Residence Up For Sale

25 April 2018 - El Economista

The Canadian pension fund CPPIB is going to take advantage of the investor appetite that currently exists for student halls of residence by placing the “For Sale” sign up over one of its assets in Spain. Galileo Galilei is the largest accommodation block for students in Valencia and one of the largest in the country, according to confirmation from several sources speaking to this newspaper.

With more than 500 beds, the asset will come onto the market during the course of the next month, given that its owner has entrusted the sales process to the international consultancy firm Savills, which declined to comment.

Currently, this hall of residence, which is the only one located on the campus of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, forms part of the Liberty Living portfolio, one of the largest managers of student halls of residence in the United Kingdom. CPPIB acquired the British group in March 2015 for GBP 1.1 billion (around €1.2 billion) and continued to grow its portfolio.

In December 2016, CPPIB closed an important operation with Blackstone, which divested a portfolio of 13 student halls, located in the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, which included Galileo Galilei. For that package, comprising 6,484 beds, the pension fund paid around GBP 460 million (€536 million) to the US firm.

Almost a year and a half later and with the sector in Spain in full boom, CPPIB has decided to put this property on the market in an operation that, according to the experts, could amount to €32 million.

Galileo Galilei currently has 520 beds spread across individual, double and triple rooms, which range in price from €515/month to €846/month. That figure includes all consumption, restaurant services, doctors, cleaning and sports activities.

In addition, the hall of residence offers supplementary services such as laundry, sheet and towel changes, a university support academy for all subjects, IT and nutritional advice, amongst others. Moreover, on the ground floor, the property houses a shopping arcade with restaurants and cafeterias offering special prices for students and various local shops such as a beauty salon, a hairdresser, a print shop, a travel agent, a newsagent, a driving school and a language academy.

With these features and its high occupancy rate, Galileo Galilei is expected to arouse significant interest amongst investors looking to gain positions in the alternative asset market in Spain in the main university cities, such as the case of Valencia. “Since 2016, the city has appeared in the Top 100 ranking of the QS Best Student Cities, which highlights the best cities in the world for students. It is also one of the most sought-after locations by European students participating in the Erasmus program,” says Patricio Palomar, Senior Investment Consultant at Aire Partners.

In fact, the expert highlights the growth potential of the supply in this market, which in its metropolitan area “has around 165,000 students matriculated, a mobility rate of approximately 29% and just 4,123 beds in colleges and halls of residence, which results in a supply rate that falls below the Spanish average”, Moreover, Palomar points out that “the process of economic recovery currently being seen in this area is expected to lead to an increase in demand from domestic and international students alike, and this situation of imbalance may be accentuated even further”.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
The Student Hotel Invests €10M in its Second Hall of Residence in Barcelona

20 April 2018 - Eje Prime

The Student Hotel has doubled its presence in Barcelona. The Dutch company has invested €10 million in the remodelling of its new student hall of residence in the Catalan capital. The asset, located in the Pobleneu neighbourhood, will be called TSH Campus Marina and will have a surface area of 21,200 m2, which will be able to accommodate around 500 students.

With this new building, the group is debuting the TSH Campus brand, which is going to specialise in accommodation for undergraduate and post-graduate students. In addition to the 500 bedrooms, the complex will also contain 50 kitchens, four swimming pools, study rooms and a laundry, as well as a restaurant (La Forastera), which will be managed by Grupo Raval, according to explanations provided by the company.

The company, owned by Charlie McGregor and the funds Aermont Capital and APG, arrived in Spain in 2015 with the purchase of two halls of residence in Barcelona from the Melon District group. Like in the case of the hall of residence in Poblenou, the company’s first property in the Catalan capital, located in Poble Sec, was also subjected to a complete renovation.

Plans for the future: €240 million of investment and an opening in Madrid

One of The Student Hotel’s next steps in Spain is going to be the opening of its first hall of residence in Madrid in 2019. That purchase forms part of a €240 million investment plan that the company led by McGregor is going to carry out in the country, where it plans to open up around ten properties for students.

The objective of the company is to find opportunities in Bilbao, Sevilla, Santander and Granada, amongst other cities, to continue growing its domestic portfolio and for Spain to become its second reference market, behind only Italy, where it expects to have thirteen halls of residence. In total, The Student Hotel is going to invest €1.6 billion to accumulate forty establishments across Europe by 2021.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Twisttt: Merlin Launches New Co-Working Brand Together with Loom House

20 April 2018 - Eje Prime

Merlin doesn’t want to get left behind in the race between the real estate companies in the co-working sector and so has taken the lead. The Socimi led by Ismael Clemente is going to launch a new co-working brand, under the name Twistt, together with Loom House, the company specialising in shared work centres, in which the Socimi acquired a stake of more than 30% last May. As sources at Merlin have explained to EjePrime, the first space under this new co-working brand is going to be opened in a building that the Socimi owns in Calle Princesa, Madrid.

The Socimi is going to open its first Twisttt space at number 5 Calle Princesa, in a building that it already owns. “Under this new brand, Merlin is going to contribute the assets and Loom House is going to be responsible for managing the co-working space”, explain the sources. There will be 1,100 m2 of shared office space, which can house up to 150 users. Twisttt’s first space is expected to be fully operational by June.

Although the sources at Merlin are not yet able to define the route map that the two groups will adopt with Twisttt, the plans involve opening at least one more co-working centre before the end of the year. “Unlike Loom House, which is an ecosystem focused on innovation, Twisttt is a much more practical ecosystem”, explain sources at the group. Twisttt will belong to the same company as Loom House, Innovación Colaborativa, and so will not be a new company.

This new project comes almost a year after Merlin purchased a 31% stake in Loom House. Paula Almansa and Jose Almansa are the founders of Loom House, a concept that seeks to differentiate itself from a “simple co-working because we wanted to go one step further”, explained its co-founder. “It is a space destined to innovation, to sharing ideas, that allows you to reflect” – explains Almansa-; if all you want us a workspace with wifi and a coffee shop, there are other options ahead of Loom House”.

Loom House is the spin-off of Impact Hub, the first co-working that was created in Spain by ten entrepreneurs (including the Almansa siblings). “After seeing that the co-working concept was starting to be accepted in Spain, we got down to work with Loom House, opening our first space in the 'Real Fábrica de Tapices' in 2016”, say sources at the group (…).

Now, the company is preparing to go one step further with the launch of its second Loom House space. This new centre, which will span 1,500 m2 and which will be able to house more than 190 users, is going to be located at number 9 Calle Huertas, in the Las Letras neighbourhood, in the former Chamber of Commerce building. Work to remodel the asset has already begun and is expected to be completed by in June.

The co-working war 

The entry of Merlin into the co-working sector is not an isolated or anecdotal event. Ismael Clemente’s Socimi is following in the footsteps of Colonial, which acquired a majority stake in the Madrilenian based firm Utopicus (specialising in coworking) last October, to develop a new branch of its business, as Eje Prime revealed.

Currently, Utopicus has three centres in Madrid, located on Calles Duque de Rivas, Colegiata and Doctor Esquerdo (…).

Now, with the objective of generating a profit from its investment, Colonial is going to open three more Utopicus centres, on this occasion in Barcelona (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake