Aena Mobilises Mega-Investments in Barajas & El Prat Amounting to €4.2bn

29 November 2018 – El Confidencial

The largest property developer in Spain is not a real estate company, it is AENA, a company that does not depend on the real estate sector for its business, on the contrary. It has started a race, together with external partners, to mobilise investments worth more than €4.2 billion focused on two projects: the urban development of Barajas and El Prat, annexes of the airports in Madrid and Barcelona. Together they represent the largest real estate project in Spain, and they are very focused on logistics due to the proximity to both airport centres, but also on offices. In office space, alone, the firm wants to promote almost 1 million m2 across the two urban areas.

This contradiction that the largest property developer is not an agent of the real estate sector is due to the fact that AENA is a very large landowner. For years, all of its plots have aged as if they were wine. The airport city in Barcelona, for example, was projected more than 14 years ago. But only now has Deloitte been engaged to look for international funds to mobilise that investment and Garrigues been contracted for legal advice about the monumental project.

And it is a long-term project. In the case of Barcelona, the most advanced of the two, it plans go out 20 years. In Barajas, the proposal is twice as long, 40 years. Moreover, according to sources in the sector, of the 622 hectares of net plots in Barajas, 396 hectares are awaiting development.

Given that the blocks of land are so close to the airports of the two capitals, logistics is the fundamental basis of the proposals. According to the latest report from Jones Lang Lasalle, logistics assets are generating yields of between 6% and 7%, a high rate when interest rates are so low. In the case of Barajas, for example, the planned logistics development represents the bulk of the project, 1.2 million m2 of constructed space, which will be the largest logistics centre in Spain, with the added synergy of connecting the current airport cargo area with the so-called Corredor del Henares.

In terms of office space, the plans also involve enormous dimensions. At El Prat, 362,000 m2 of constructed space is planned, almost as much as in the whole of the 22@ district promoted to date (…). And in the case of Madrid, it is even larger. At Barajas, the volume of planned offices is triple that figure, although it will have to be constructed over four decades.

In addition, there will be hangars, commercial areas, hotels and cargo services for aeroplanes. In practice, it will be like building two new cities, one in Barajas and the other in El Prat.

The immediate plans

The closest projects are the phases that have been planned for the next five to eight years. At the airport in Barcelona, the phase that AENA has called “catalysing” spans the first five years, during which time €387 million will be invested in total to promote almost 400,000 m2 in different types of urban planning projects.

These investments will run in parallel to the airport projects that have already been approved. In this way, AENA has already committed investments amounting to €690 million in El Prat, which include a new satellite terminal (…), to be carried out over the next four years.

This phase is longer at Barajas. It will last for eight years and will involve a forecast investment of €953 million, according to the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Real Estate Plan. During this phase, more than 500,000 m2 will be constructed (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos Lamelas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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