British Groups Invest Heavily In Spain’s RE Sector

9 May 2017 – Expansión

The Grosvenor group is embarking on its first residential project in Spain, developing luxury homes in Madrid. It is following in the footsteps of other compatriot companies such as Intu, Taylor Wimpey and Benson Elliot.

One of the latest real estate companies to show its commitment to Spain has a history that spans 340 years. The firm in question is Grosvenor, the centuries-old British firm, which closed its first investment in the Spanish residential sector about two months ago.

The project chosen by Grosvenor for its arrival in Spain is a luxury residential development on the Golden Mile of Madrid. To this end, Grosvenor, through its subsidiary Grosvenor Europe, completed the purchase of a plot of land measuring around 820 m2, located at number 53 on Calle Jorge Juan, for the development of six exclusive apartments and one penthouse with views over the Retiro Park. (…).

Grosvenor’s operation on Jorge Juan forms part of a joint venture signed by the Asian firm Amcorp in July 2016, whereby it undertook to invest €70 million during the first phase. “We hope to build a significant real estate portfolio in Spain during 2017”, said sources at the British group, which was founded in 1677 by Sir Thomas Grosvenor, and which is nowadays one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom.

In light of this commitment to Spain, Grosvenor, which has four divisions through which it operates in Europe, Asia, America and the United Kingdom, has strengthened its office in Madrid, led by Fátima Sáez del Cano, by hiring Miguel Silmi, who formerly served in interim roles at firms such as Altamira, owned by Banco Santander. (…).

Investment

Grosvenor’s commitment to Spain is not a unique case amongst the large British groups. “Investors from the United Kingdom have always liked the Spanish real estate market and they have invested throughout the economic cycle. For example, Heron International, which is known today for the shopping centres that it built in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, used to hold a significant portfolio of office buildings in Madrid, in the 1990s”, said Javier García-Mateo, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte. (…).

Meanwhile, Benson Elliot has been present since 2011. That fund has just closed the purchase of the Hotel Silken Diagonal, together with the joint venture between Walton Street and Highgate. Previously, BE had purchased two other assets in Barcelona, which it has now sold. “Another British firm, London Regional, has purchased hotels and offices in Spain and has also taken advantage of the cycle to sell them at a profit”, said Rafael Bou, Partner in Real Estate at PwC.

“Having invested more than €2,147 million since 2011, British funds are the second most significant international investor in the Spanish real estate market, after the United States (…)”, according to Savills. During the first quarter of 2017, British firms have already made real estate purchases amounting to €550 million, according to Deloitte.

One example of this commitment is the return of British Land to Spain, which last year purchased the Nueva Condomina shopping centre in Murcia, and the more than €120 million that has been invested by the UK & European Investment group in operations in Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella. (…).

In addition to real estate companies and investment funds, some of the large British insurance companies are also placing their focus on the Spanish real estate sector, such as the case of Prudential and Aviva, which just closed the purchase of the Tormes shopping centre in Salamanca.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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