Amancio Ortega Buys Old Catalonian Banesto’s Premises From Sareb

Amancio Ortega, the founder and the first shareholder of Inditex, has bought a building which hosted the Catalonian premises of Banesto in the Plaza Catalunya Square in Barcelona for 44 million Euros. Ortega, who acquired the property from Sareb, bought commercial premises of Apple within the building in 2012.

The real estate sources explain that Pontegadea, the investment company of the businessman, has tied itself up with the building through the purchase of the mortgage encumbering it, initially awarded to Banco de Valencia and Bancaja but later it was transferred to Sareb due to the banking restructuring process. (…)

The same sources reveal that the credit sale finalized at the end of December 2013, has been conducted with a 33% discount on the mortgage value that the Valencian banks granted to the building in 2006 to the Valencian real estate company Ballester to buy the building from another real estate firm, Monteverde from Madrid. At present, both companies entered the creditors´arrangements.

The mortgage of the building, occupying the number 1 of the Paseo de Gracia Street and number 10 of the Plaza Catalunya Square, at the beginning was a jewel in a lot of credits that Sareb put on sale last year. The lot, with the nominal value of 233 million Euros, named Abacus, was finally acquired by Deutsche Bank. In extremis, Sareb put an additional building of Banesto to receive a better offer, as the investors from Russia and Dubai has been already bidding for it in order to build a hotel.

Ortega bought 2.000 m2 occupied by Apple shop for 86 million Euros and was still interested in purchase of the rest of the building, reaching an agreement with Sareb after agil negotiations. The building disposes of an area of 8.500 square meters in total, 700 m2 of a terrace and 4.500 m2 of an underground parking (…).

The purchase delays converting the building into a hotel, the idea suggested for example by the Marriot group, however it would need additional input of 20 millions for refurbishment if it was to serve as a luxury hotel unit. (…).

The sale could facilitate commercial destination of the building that would require an investment of 8 million Euros. Unfortunately, the project could not be launched in short term: Apple signed the tenancy contract for 15 years in 2012 and from a top shop in Barcelona it became an important spot in the south of Europe (…).

Through the purchase Armancio Ortega empowers his position as a main investor in Barcelona since the beginning of the recession. Zara´s owner bought exactly a year ago the old commercial premises of BBVA in the corner of the Bergara Street for 100 million Euros from a German fund, Deka, and a building at 56 Paseo de Gracia Street (hosting a Burberry shop) for 53 million Euros from Testa real estate company. In the area Ortega also owns a building on Paseo de Gracia-Gran Via (a great Zara shop), number 95 – the luxury shop of Santa Eulalia and number 5 hosting premises of Santander.

The owner, the richest man in Spain and the third in the world according to Forbes, during the last years has invested over 1.2000 million Euros on property not only in Spain, but also in London (bought the Devonshire House for 490 million Euros) and in the New York (a building on the Fifth Avenue for 231 million Euros) and not long ago another one destined for offices in the Meatpacking district.

Source: La Vanguardia

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