Operación Chamartín’s # 2 Jumps Ship To Castlelake

21 September 2016 – El Confidencial

Just three years ago, BBVA and San José hired David Martínez as the CEO of Duch, the property developer of Operación Chamartín, which was subsequently renamed Distrito Castellana Norte. It was a high profile move, given that Martínez was CEO of Valdebebas at the time, the only large real estate development in the capital that had managed to resist the crisis.

With those credentials, Martínez became the number two in command at Operación Chamartín, behind only the Chairman, Antonio Béjar. He was also the key figure that allowed the project to be relaunched, a year later, with the consent of the three administrations involved: the Ministry of Development, the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall of Madrid.

But that consensus broke down with the arrival of Ahora Madrid in Palacio de Cibeles. They reversed the plan and submitted their own proposal, Madrid Puerta Norte, which cut the scope of the original plans in half.

In the middle of this blockade, whose most recent chapter has just been written by the High Court of Justice in Madrid, with the admission of the appeal submitted by DCN against the Town Hall, Martínez has abandoned ship to join one of the major international funds in the Spanish real estate sector: Castlelake.

As El Confidencial revealed, the US firm has reached an agreement with Merlin to launch its own property developer from what was leftover of the former firm Vallehermoso, and the 1 million sqm of land that the fund has been acquiring over the last two years.

New property developer

Martínez said goodbye to DCN on 1 September to join this new company, which is expected to start work in October under the brand, Aedas Home. The firm has offices on Paseo de la Castellana and an 11-man team that used to form part of Vallehermoso, Sacyr’s former property developer subsidiary, which was liquidated two years ago.

Martínez’s recruitment is a statement of intent regarding the plans that Castlelake has for Spain, given that he is one of the most recognised professionals in his sector in Spain – he was at the helm for eight years at Valdebebas and then has spent another three years at Operación Chamartín. In fact, many consider him to be the real brains behind these two developments, on whose future the final configuration of the north of Madrid depends.

With Aedas Home, Castlelake has finished shaping the new map of the largest property developers in Spain, a market whose present and future is marked by the clear commitment that three large international funds, in particular, have made to the Spanish real estate sector: Lone Star, which acquired the developer Neinor from Kutxabank for €930 million two years ago; Värde, which together with Marathon and Attestor has launched Dos Puntos from the ashes of the former San José Desarrollos; and now, Castlelake.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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