26 March 2015 – Expansión
The largest shareholder of Inditex has an extensive real estate portfolio that includes properties and retail stores on the two most desirable streets in both cities.
They are the most sought-after streets in Spain for any real estate investor. On the one hand, Paseo de Gracia, in Barcelona, the star shopping street in the Catalan capital. On the other hand, the Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid, an object of desire for any investor and a prime office location. As such, both have piqued the interest of Amancio Ortega, who owns more than ten buildings on the two thoroughfares.
Through Pontegadea, the company that the founder and majority shareholder of Inditex channels his investments through after closing his Sicavs, Ortega has purchased six buildings on the Catalan avenue and another five on the Madrid street.
In the case of the Paseo de Gracia, the most recent acquisition was made last year when Ortega purchased an office building located at number 1 on the street, on the corner with the famous Plaza Cataluña, for €44 million. This space, which has been leased to Banesto until now, will be converted into an Iberostar Hotel. A few months earlier, he acquired the commercial premises in the same building for €80 million, which are leased to Apple (see picture above). That US multinational is not Ortega’s only illustrious tenant; others include Fnac, Baker & Mackenzie, Burberry and Google.
In March 2012, Pontegadea acquired another building also on the Paseo de Gracia. In that case, Ortega’s company paid Sacyr €53.5 million for the building located at number 56. Measuring more than 9,000 square metres, it is leased to the British textile manufacturer Burberry. The Inditex owner is also the landlord of the building at number 93.
The purchases made in the last decade have made Amancio Ortega one of the largest property owners on Madrid’s main thoroughfare: the Paseo de la Castellana. The owner of Zara joined the select club of property owners in that area in 2004, when he acquired number 92 (that same year he made a joint purchase with Metrópolis of an office building on the Paseo de Gracia, 16, which was converted into luxury housing). On the Castellana, Ortega also owns number 35, which he acquired in 2005; and number 79, the former headquarters of Axa, which he renovated to create a new office building with a shopping area, now leased to Fnac and Habitat.
But, undoubtedly, the jewel in Ortega’s crown in Madrid was acquired at the end of 2011, when he signed an agreement with FCC to purchase the Torre Picasso. He paid €400 million for the skyscraper that sits in the heart of the city’s financial district, just a few metres from the Paseo de la Castellana – a record figure for a single building, second only to the €815 million that the then Caja Madrid invested in the Torre Foster.
Nevertheless, it was not the first time that Pontegadea had paid so much in a real estate transaction. At the end of 2007, Amancio Ortega paid €458 million to Santander for the acquisition of ten buildings located in several Spanish cities, which included Castellana, 24 and Paseo de Gracia, 5.
These two great Spanish streets are just an example of Ortega’s extensive property holdings, which also include buildings leased to Inditex companies, such as for example Serrano, 23, in Madrid, which is leased to Zara. In the last full financial year (2013), Pontegadea’s assets were valued at €4,519.5 million and they generated a profit of €93.3 million, compared with €70.5 million a year earlier.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake